Karine Silva is the UFC Vegas 91 fighter to watch

UFC Vegas 91 is going under the radar but Karine Silva shouldn't be.
Aug 19, 2023; Boston, MA, USA; Karine Silva (red gloves) reacts to defeating Marina Moroz (blue
Aug 19, 2023; Boston, MA, USA; Karine Silva (red gloves) reacts to defeating Marina Moroz (blue / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The women's flyweight division has never seen a fighter quite like Karine Silva. She is 21 fights into her mixed martial arts career and all 17 of her victories have come by way of stoppage. When No. 13 Silva steps into the Octagon against No. 12 Ariane Lipski, she will get the chance to continue her remarkable finishing streak.

Silva was introduced to fans of the UFC on the fifth season of Dana White's Contender Series, submitting Yan Qihui in the second round. The performance earned her a UFC contract and she has not looked back since.

Silva was so highly respected when she made her UFC debut that her first fight in the organization was the third bout on the main card of UFC Vegas 56, a higher billing than Erin Blanchfield, Benoit Saint-Denis, and Alonzo Menifield. That fight against Poliana Botelho ended with Botelho tapping to a d'arce with five seconds left in the first round, earning Silva a Performance of the Night bonus.

Next up for Silva was UFC newcomer and former Invicta FC flyweight champion, Ketlen Souza. Just one minute and 45 seconds in to the opening round Silva grabbed a hold of what appeared to be a straight ankle lock and popped Souza's knee, forcing her to tap. Speaking to the strength of Silva's grappling, the UFC did not know what to call the submission, initially crediting it as a kneebar before changing it simply to leg lock.

Facing off against Maryna Moroz in the opening bout of UFC 292, Silva got the opportunity to avenge one of her four career losses. Silva and Moroz met almost nine years earlier on November 1, 2014. In that fight, Moroz was able to secure an armbar in the first round, forcing Silva to tap.

Boasting eight wins by knockout, Silva's power has always been undeniable. In the rematch with Moroz, Silva displayed a more refined and varied striking game, not just using her power to drop her foe, but also battering her both in the clinch and with leg kicks. Once the fight hit the ground, Silva displayed her boa constrictor like squeeze, snatching up Moroz's neck in a guillotine and forcing the tap with just one second remaining in the first round.

Karine Silva faces No. 12 Ariane Lipski at UFC Vegas 91

Riding an eight fight win streak, Silva will face the stiffest test of her career in Lipski. The former KSW, Poland's largest promotion, flyweight champion is on a three fight win streak of her own. The most remarkable thing about Lipski's streak is the consistent improvement she has shown despite being 25 fights in to her mixed martial arts career.

Lipski's martial arts journey started with muay thai and it showed early in her career. Punishing opponents on the feet, it was soon exposed that the path to victory over her was to take the fight to the ground. Lipski was taken down by five of her first six UFC opponents, losing four of those contests. However, on her three fight win streak, Lipski has been able to stuff all 21 of her opponents' takedown attempts while securing all four of her own.

Keeping the fight standing to showcase her brilliant footwork and clean striking combinations will be Lipski's best path to victory, though staying on your feet against Silva is much easier said than done. None of Silva's UFC opponents have been able to keep the fight standing.

As to be expected with a step up in competition, we will learn a lot about Silva in this fight. Can she takedown an opponent with the quality of takedown defense that Lipski has recently shown? If Silva cannot, does she have the technical ability to out strike the former muay thai champion?

With the toughest opponent of her career standing across the Octagon at UFC Vegas 91, Silva is on the cusp of the division's elite. If she can collect another one of her trademark finishes, Silva will add her name to the likes of Manon Fiorot, Natalia SIlva, and Blanchfield on the growing list of title contenders in one of the deepest divisions in all of the UFC.


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