“Don’t come and try to get a win over me, Lina!”
Mayra Bueno Silva is laughing but not joking when she discusses her prelim bout with Lina Lansberg this Saturday at UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs Blanchfield. It will mark the sixth consecutive appearance at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, a house where she’s carefully trying to construct big things.
“We work really hard to get to this level and we work twice as hard to stay here.”
The building blocks for big things continue to fall into place.
After a solid start in the women’s flyweight division during her first five UFC appearances, the Brazilian now rides a two-fight bantamweight win streak into Saturday, getting the better of Wu Yanan and then Stephanie Egger in 2022. Those two fights answered the questions that surrounded her after missing large swaths of time due to injury, the questions that wondered if she could return at full strength and fury. The questions about whether she could maintain her power after moving up ten pounds. To date, the answer has been a resounding yes.
“Honestly, I'm really happy in this weight class. I’ve found myself here. I feel awesome, thankful to God for being here again and facing an opponent such as Lina.”
Changing divisions certainly didn’t equate to the assignments getting easier, and her opponent this weekend is certainly evidence of that. Despite not getting her hand raised lately, the veteran Lansberg is one of the true OGs of the bantamweight division and one of the pioneers of European women’s MMA. Silva understands her opponent will be hungry to prove she’s still a force to be reckoned with.
“We look at someone who’s had three losses and we think it’s an easy fight, but it isn’t. Lina is a very tough fight,” she says with a seriousness in her voice. “When I watch her fights, I joke and say that she refuses to go down. It’s very hard to fight her.”
Lansberg’s nickname has long been “Elbow Queen” due to the damage they’ve inflicted time and again. Elbows are also a favorite of Silva, and she’s planned accordingly.
“My strategy is always the same. I'm always aggressive. I impose my pace. I always try to keep my pace. I keep the pressure the whole time and make her give in. This time she will give in.”
Although she’s clearly comfortable in a standup war, "Sheetara" has wielded some true savagery in the grappling department and has six submission wins to show for it. Lansberg has seen it all at this point in her career, so however Silva chooses to attack, she will have to choose carefully.
“We’re even more cautious because we know she’s very tough and that she doesn’t have any quit in her. We’re doing great and we’re being very careful. We’ve trained twice as hard so she can keep losing and I can keep my momentum.”
She’s taken other steps during this camp to ensure she maintains momentum, including training at Florida’s famed American Top Team.
“I’ve learned a lot at ATT. They have really good people. They’ve welcomed us with open arms. I invited coach Parrumpa to be my head coach. Anderson is my Muay Thai coach and the Oliveira brothers, who are also my boxing coaches. And Gloria [de Paula] has been my coach for three years.
“I’ve trained with Kayla Harrison and Joanna Jędrzejczyk. I’ve trained with some girls that are extremely tough. So I’m very happy.”
UFC 285 | The G.O.A.T. Is Back
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UFC 285 | The G.O.A.T. Is Back
That’s pretty good company to be keeping, and if the win streak stays intact this Saturday--and she can snag Lansberg’s No. 12 ranking in the process--the bantamweight winds will truly be at her back.
“I had called out Miesha [Tate] and she answered this week. She said if I win my fight, she’s ready to fight. But I have other plans, too. First, let’s go through Lina and then see what happens. We have a really tough opponent in front of us Saturday, so I’m one hundred percent focused on that.”