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Natalia Silva: A Premier UFC Women’s Flyweight Talent 

Natalia Silva UFC

(Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)

Natalia Silva UFC
UFC women’s flyweight Natalia Silva has proven that she is one of the best fighters in the division in just four UFC appearances. (Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)

Natalia Silva: A Premier UFC Women’s Flyweight Talent 

The UFC women’s flyweight division is on fire. The division is the most stacked women’s weight class and rising prospects should only make it stronger. The next rising prospect of the group is Natalia Silva. Thankfully, Silva is worthy of the hype and appears to have a ton of potential. Let’s take a look into Silva’s career and explain why she is a legit prospect. 

I want to acknowledge that this post is not exactly breaking news as many people are high on Silva. I may seem a tad late, but I have always been high on Silva. In our UFC Things We Learned series, I gave Silva her flowers on three separate occasions. The three shoutouts came after her wins at UFC Vegas 65, UFC Vegas 73, and UFC 292. Silva’s UFC debut predates my coverage. It is time to give her recognition in her own post. 

Natalia Silva’s Experience 

Before we discuss a single skill or attribute, Silva deserves credit for the amount of experience she has racked up throughout her career. 

Silva, 26, has a 16-5-1 professional record. The record may not jump off the page, but it is easy to explain the losses. Silva started her professional career at 18 years old with zero amateur bouts to her name. This resulted in a turbulent start to her career where she went 3-4-1. Those early career struggles are not buried behind amateur status. 

Silva’s last loss came against Marina Rodriguez in 2017. Yes, that is the ranked UFC strawweight. Rodriguez beat Silva to earn her shot on Dana White’s Contender Series. That was a rough matchup for Silva as she was just 20 years old fighting a UFC-caliber talent that was 29 years old. 

It is fair to say Silva paid her dues on the regional scene. Not only did she consistently fight, but she was willing to take on some of the premier talent in Brazil. 

In the UFC, Silva has added to her experience with four impressive victories. Now, she sits on a ten-fight win streak.

Natalia Silva’s Strengths

It takes about ten seconds for Silva’s striking to jump off the screen as her biggest strength. It only gets better as you watch more too. 

Silva has a great set of offensive weapons. This begins with her kicks. Silva can throw just about every kick in the book. In the UFC, she has shown the ability to use both legs to kick to all three levels. The effectiveness of her lead kicks is unique, however. Furthermore, Silva has solid boxing. What’s important is that she mixes her kicks and punches into combinations to give opponents a plethora of offensive looks. 

It is impressive that Silva can use her striking in various types of fights. If her opponents opt to trade from a distance, Silva is typically sharper and finds success. On the other hand, if her opponents get aggressive, Silva can punish them with counters. It makes it difficult to craft a game plan. 

Silva pairs solid attributes with her technique. The aforementioned weapons are enhanced by quickness and accuracy. This strengthens her striking danger. 

Along with her striking prowess, Silva is a solid defensive wrestler. In previous outings, we have seen Jasmine Jasudavicius and Tereza Bleda implore heavy wrestling game plans. In those matchups, Silva showed good instincts and balance while correctly pressuring the head and digging for underhooks. The statistics back up the eye test with a 92% takedown defense. If that wasn’t enough, she landed a sick whizzer kick against Jasudavicius to land a takedown of her own. 

Lastly, Silva checks the cardio box. In the UFC we have seen her strike at a high pace for three rounds. More impressively, she has also shown the ability to grapple for long periods. Silva checks both of those boxes- at least for three rounds. That is great to see because her kick-heavy style is typically hard to maintain. 

Natalia Silva’s Weaknesses 

Silva has a laundry list of strengths, but some weaknesses should be addressed. It is nothing overly concerning, however. 

The first potential issue that I could see in Silva’s game is her submission defense. In the Bleda bout, she was deep in a triangle choke and the defense was not great. That brings two thoughts to mind. First, we will have to see if this is a recurring issue. Secondly, time will tell how well Bleda performs in the UFC. It is too early to tell if she ends up being a quality fighter. If Bleda puts some solid performances together, the concern level will drop. 

At times, Silva’s striking approach can put her in danger. I would not say this is common, but her chin can be exposed on occasion. This is most common when she throws a kick from boxing range. In some situations, this can help her land big shots, but in others, she is vulnerable to eating big shots. This concern is paired with the fact that we have not seen her chin tested. A great fighter can fall apart if they can’t take a punch. 

The last concern is that Silva is very small in the flyweight division. I would not be shocked if she eventually dropped down a weight class. At flyweight, Silva will run into fighters who are bigger, taller, and more physical. That could become a concern when she begins to fight the best fighters in the division. 

Natalia Silva’s UFC future

Silva is staring down a bright future. I would love to tell you that she will become a champion. I cannot do that, however. It is in the cards, but the women’s flyweight division is way too talented to crown anyone a future champion. I have a lot of respect for Erin Blanchfield, Manon Fiorot, Maycee Barber, and Tracy Cortez. Plus, Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko are tough fighters to overtake. 

The point here is that Silva is a legitimate top-five talent with the potential to become a UFC champion. The peak of her career will depend on how the future of the division plays out. That should be viewed as a positive when many top prospects never sniff the top five.

At UFC Vegas 85, Natalia Silva will attempt to climb a few positions in the rankings as she takes on veteran Viviane Araujo.

***

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