Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Macy Chiasson is the most underrated fight at UFC 303, here's why

Pay attention to the fight between Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Macy Chiasson at UFC 303.
Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Mayra Bueno Silva (blue gloves)  reacts after being defeated by Raquel Pennington (red glove) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Mayra Bueno Silva (blue gloves) reacts after being defeated by Raquel Pennington (red glove) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 303 was supposed to mark Conor McGregor's return, with the Irish star clashing with Michael Chandler in a battle of The Ultimate Fighter 31 coaches. But a toe injury has instead caused a shift towards an Alex Pereira-Jiri Prochazka light heavyweight title rematch on short notice that leads a stacked main card full of title implications.

But there is one much-maligned bout in said main card that deserves mention and discussion: the women's bantamweight clash between Mayra Bueno Silva and Macy Chiasson. In a division undergoing a transition in the wake of Amanda Nunes' retirement, these two ladies will look to build momentum towards a title shot.

Bueno Silva is a very dangerous grappler, with seven of her official wins coming by way of submission. Her four-fight unbeaten streak from 2022 to 2023, which coincided with her second return to bantamweight and saw her go the distance only once (the first win), is one of the most exciting moments in UFC women's bantamweight history, given the historic dearth of talent in the division.

Here was a relatively young fighter putting on spectacular performances, and it reached its climax when she submitted Holly Holm (even if it was later redeclared a no-contest after ritalinic acid was found in Bueno Silva's drug test sample). And so at UFC 297, fans tuned in to see whether she would finally fulfill her potential against Raquel Pennington.

Here's why UFC fans should care about Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Macy Chiasson

It did not happen. Bueno Silva was outworked in the fight, showing signs of exhaustion. It showed, that for all her potential, she had some improvements to make before ascending to the next level, which she now hopes to reveal in this fight.

Then, there is Chiasson. At 5'11" and with a 72" reach, the former featherweight is one of the biggest members of the women's bantamweight division. That size advantage served her well in her first three UFC fights, as she pummeled her opponents before the final bell.

Since then, she has continued to be a decent fighter. While one of her losses came against Pennington (by submission, no less), she is coming off a win in her last fight, defeating Pannie Kianzad by rear-naked choke for the second time (she had done the same thing to win The Ultimate Fighter 28). Another win (against a former title challenger no less) may solidify herself as one of the top title contenders in a wide open division.

With women's bantamweight still needing an infusion of new faces even after the arrival of Kayla Harrison, the UFC has made it a point to sign multiple prospects - Jacqueline Cavalcanti, Melissa Dixon, and Tainara Lisboa specifically. But all of them require more polishing before becoming contenders, so it is up to Bueno Silva and Chiasson to capitalize and put their names in the short-term discussion.

For Bueno Silva, the mission is simple: prove to the detractors that she has resolved her endurance issues and can reliably fight until the final bell. If she wants another crack at gold, she must prevent herself from tiring out early and fast and conserveher energy.

Chiasson, meanwhile, will want nothing more than to make the fight as brutal as possible, given her edge in well-roundedness. She is slightly better on the feet while being simultaneously decent on the ground, and she must utilize such completeness to shut down her adversary's single-minded pursuit of a quick submission finish.

Many fans have been questioning this fight's placement, saying that it is undeserved and reflects the mostly sorry state of the women's side of the UFC roster, especially at bantamweight. But as a fight with divisional significance, it is no surprise that these two women have received such a great spotlight. And the hope is that they will deliver a statement performance.