Mayra Bueno Silva is set to face Raquel Pennington for the vacant UFC bantamweight championship in the co-main event of UFC 297, but it took her some time to grasp the news. Silva revealed on the Trocação Franca podcast that when American Top Team coach Marcos “Parrumpa” daMatta initially called with the breaking news, she mistakenly thought her opponent would be ex-champion Julianna Peña. It took a week to rectify the mix-up.
“At first, I thought it was going to be Julianna, so we started watching all of Julianna’s fights after dinner,” Silva said. “A week later, I found out it was against Raquel. I didn’t even think about it, I thought it was Julianna because we were planning for that, right? I was super happy, already studying for Julianna, and then, ‘No, no, no, it’s Raquel.’ I was so excited [to fight for the UFC title], I didn’t even ask who the opponent was.”
While Silva admitted she was initially “shocked” when she discovered her real opponent, she emphasized that it didn’t alter her main focus. Despite recognizing that a bout against Julianna Peña might have been more exciting from a promotional standpoint, Silva remains undeterred, noting that Raquel Pennington is a formidable opponent who prefers to let her fighting do the talking.
“It’s hard to promote this fight because my opponent isn’t one that likes to talk too much,” Silva said regarding the co-main event status under Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis. “It didn’t disappoint me that there’s a fight after mine. This fight disappointed me because it’s a fight not many people want to see. To me, my fight is the main event.”
Despite the promotional challenges, Silva sees Pennington as a tougher test than Peña from a competitive standpoint. Silva acknowledges Pennington’s physical strength and veteran experience, noting the danger she brings in the striking area.
Looking ahead, Silva envisions a different scenario with Julianna Peña, expressing skepticism about her willingness to fight. “Julianna will stay injured for the rest of her career,” Silva joked. “She doesn’t want to fight. She just wants to talk. All she does is noise. I have so much fun with her. Every time she posts something about me, it’s just funny to me. I hope this fight happens because fans will have so much fun. I promise to beat the crap out of her and show who’s the boss.”