In the co-main event of UFC 297, we saw a new women’s bantamweight champion crowned. Top contenders battled it out for the vacant title as Brazil’s Mayra Bueno Silva (10-2-1, 1 NC) took on “Rocky” Raquel Pennington (15-8).
Starting with Pennington, she has completely turned her career around. Back in 2020, she took on Holly Holm for a second time and lost a decision to the former champion. At that point in her career, she was 10-8. However, starting with her next fight, she would win five straight which has earned her this shot at the vacant title.
Bueno Silva also is on quite the winning streak. Bueno Silva was originally a flyweight but after having trouble making the weight, she decided to move up to 135. She won her first three fights and then she fought Holly Holm. She submitted Holm in the second round. However, the fight was ruled a No Contest after she tested positive for her prescribed ADHD medication.
Because of the nature of the positive test, the UFC didn’t punish her and is still giving her this shot at the vacant title tonight.
UFC 297 Recap
The UFC bantamweight title fight kicks off with a big leg kick from Bueno Silva. Pennington rushes forward with a combination but nothing big lands. Front body kick from Bueno Silva and Pennington answers with one of her own. Pennington grabs a leg and pushes Bueno Silva back to the fence.
Bueno Silva reverses the position and lands a nice knee to the body. They break and Pennington looks for the jab. Big calf kick from Bueno Silva and a right hand lands for Pennington. Pennington goes for a single leg but she eats three straight nasty elbows from Bueno Silva. Stiff jab from Bueno Silva on the break.
Combination from Bueno Silva and she gets a big takedown. Bueno Silva gets the back with ease with halfway through the round. Bueno Silva is attacking the choke here but Pennington is doing a good job of controlling her wrist. One minute left in the round and Bueno Silva still holds the dominant position here.
50 seconds left in the first round and just after Pennington gets back up, Bueno Silva drags her right back down. Big shots from the back land from Bueno Silva. The round ends and it’s a good one for Bueno Silva at UFC 297.
Entering the second and it’ll be interesting to see the game plan from Pennington here. Three straight jabs start things out for Pennington. She’s trying to start fast here. Leg kick lands for Bueno Silva and Pennington lands a right. Pressure from Bueno Silva and she gets Pennington against the fence.
Knee to the body from Bueno Silva. The crowd starts to boo as Bueno Silva lands another knee. She’s doing a good job of controlling Pennington here. However, Pennington reverses the position with three minutes left in the round. Pennington breaks away and lands a combination. Elbow from Bueno Silva and a counter from Pennington. Bueno Silva gets right back into the clinch.
She’s on a single leg here going for a takedown. They break away and Pennington lands a couple of big shots. Big right hand from Pennington and Bueno Silva might be hurt here. More big shots from Pennington but then she goes into a clinch. Her corner is screaming at her to break away but she’s content just going to the clinch.
Big knee to the body lands for Bueno Silva. Bueno Silva gets to the back of Pennington and she gets a good position but Pennington is composed. The round comes to a close and that’s a Pennington round if you ask me.
Heading into the third at UFC 297 and I have it all tied up. Two jabs start things out for Pennington. Calf kick from Bueno Silva. Big calf kick again and now it’s Pennington with a combination. They clinch and it’s Bueno Silva holding Pennington against the fence here.
Pennington reverses and lands a couple of knees. They are just trading the dominant position and knees here. Bueno Silva looks like she’s going for a takedown here but Pennington gets right back to the lead position. Knee to the body from Bueno Silva. Throw from Bueno Silva but Pennington forces a scramble and she’s right back on her feet.
Midway point through round three and Bueno Silva lands a nasty elbow in tight. Big knee to the body now for Bueno Silva. Two minutes left in the round and not much is happening here. They separate and Bueno Silva lands a couple of really nice elbows. Takedown attempt from Bueno Silva and she nearly gets her down.
However, Pennington uses a choke attempt to get the top position. She backs away and let’s Bueno Silva back up. Short elbows from Bueno Silva and she goes for another takedown. However, Pennington gets the top position after attacking another choke. The round ends and it’s 2-1 Pennington on my scorecard at UFC 297.
Entering the fourth round and Bueno Silva looks exhausted. Huge right hand starts things for Pennington and she’s throwing with heat. Big shots land for Pennington. Bueno Silva lands a body kick and they go right back to the clinch. Pennington immediately gets the lead position and lands a couple of knees to the body.
Bueno Silva gets the lead position and now she lands a couple of big elbows. She gets the back of Pennington and she gets a choke in. It looks deep but Pennington’s chin might be in there. Pennington gets out and now she’s on top. Bueno Silva attacking an armbar here.
Pennington gets out and now Bueno Silva is attacking a triangle. One minute left in the round and now Bueno Silva is attacking another triangle. Short elbow lands for Pennington with thirty seconds left in the round. Three big shots land for Pennington. The round ends and it’s a tough one to call but I’d give it to Pennington. I have her up 3-1 at UFC 297.
Entering the final round at Bueno Silva might need a finish. The fight starts and there’s not much pressure to start things out. Pennington gets a clinch and she lands a couple of nice shots. Mount Everest goes for a throw but ends up on her back. Pennington goes right into attacking an arm triangle.
It looks like it’s deep but Bueno Silva gives a thumbs up. However, it’s really in deep and Pennington is just holding the position here. Bueno Silva isn’t really fighting this at this point. She’s just accepting the position. Pennington holds the position all the way until the 90 second mark before she breaks away.
Full guard for Pennington and Bueno Silva tries throwing elbows off her back. However, Pennington fires back some ground and pound. Big elbows from Pennington. The fight ends with Pennington on top and Raquel Pennington is going to be the new UFC bantamweight champion.
Raquel Pennington def. Mayra Bueno Silva by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-45)