There’s also a big night of fights in the Great White North on Saturday. Vancouver, BC is where the famed UFC Octagon sets up shop for another flagship event on pay-per-view.
UFC 289 Beset with Multiple Cancellations
Rogers Arena serves as the setting for UFC 289 this weekend. Live coverage begins at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT on ESPN with the early prelims. Late prelims immediately follow at 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT on the same network.
One bout, however, a welterweight contest matching Stephen Thompson with Michel Pereira, was rebooked to UFC 291 on July 29. Barring any further alterations to the card, UFC 289 will feature 11 MMA bouts.
Women’s Bantamweight Championship at Stake in UFC 289 Main Event
Highlighting the evening’s activities is the battle for supremacy at 135 lbs. in the UFC 289 main event. Incumbent titleholder Amanda Nunes (22-5 MMA, 15-2 UFC) meets challenger (and No. 5 contender) Irene Aldana (14-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC).
As with all UFC championship fights, this headliner will be a maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round. Should Aldana win, she’d become the fifth different competitor to hold the title.
— UFC (@ufc) June 5, 2023
UFC 289 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds
Heading into the UFC 289 main event on Saturday night, Irene Aldana stands as the taller competitor at 5-foot-9, compared to the 5-foot-8 frame of Amanda Nunes. Additionally, the former owns a half-inch reach advantage (69 inches to 68 1/2 inches) and a 2 1/2-inch leg reach advantage (41 inches to 38 1/2 inches) over the latter.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the oddsmakers currently have Amanda Nunes installed as a -400 favorite on the money line, with Irene Aldana countering as a +228 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Champion Nunes Dealing With Opponent Shift for UFC 289 Main Event
Amanda Nunes comes into the UFC 289 main event on Saturday night having gone 4-1 in her last five fights. Most recently, she returned to the win column (unanimous decision) versus Julianna Pena (11-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in UFC 277’s main event.
Nunes was scheduled to verse Pena again in a trilogy bout on Saturday night, but it was scrubbed after the latter had to withdraw from the event last month upon sustaining a broken rib. Having your originally-scheduled opposition withdraw from the fight with roughly one month to go before the contest is far from the ideal scenario.
Nunes had been spending the entirety of her training camp in preparation for Pena a third time and has had to quickly shift her attention to Aldana once the withdrawal became official.
How much has that affected her psyche as the UFC 289 main event nears? Only time will tell.
Irene Aldana a Trailblazer
In the other corner, Irene Aldana has posted a mark of 4-1 in her last five contests. At present, she’s on a two-fight winning streak.
Most recently, she scored a third-round knockout (liver kick) of Macy Chiasson (8-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) in UFC 279 on Sept. 10. Prior to joining UFC 289, Aldana was slated to fight Raquel Pennington last month.
There have been trailblazers all over the sporting world. Irene Aldana is a trailblazer for females looking to get into MMA in her home country of Mexico.
During the UFC 289 Embedded series, Aldana’s training camp was documented by a camera crew. At the end of the first episode, her head coach Francisco Grasso had glowing words about Aldana.
“I’ve truly been grateful for every single day and the rest of my life because she opened the door for the gym and for women’s MMA here in Mexico,” Grasso said. “She’s going to do really great, so now we can have two Mexican female champions in less than three or four months.”
Can Aldana give Mexico something to cheer about? Tune into the UFC 289 main event for the answer.
Analysis, Film Study and Prediction
Stylistically, the UFC 289 main event looks to favor Amanda Nunes, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in judo, compared to Irene Aldana’s background as a striker.
Look for Nunes to Drop Aldana
With Amanda Nunes having a black belt in BJJ, it’s a foregone conclusion that someone’s getting taken or knocked down in the fight. Thus, it would be foolish not to expect it here.
During Nunes’ rematch versus Pena, the ground game came into play. About a minute or so into round two, she connected on a lead hand to knock Pena down.
Rather than try and pounce on her with ground and pound shots, Nunes instead opted to have the referee order Pena to get up. Upon Pena returning to her feet, Nunes unloaded with more right-handed punches to knock her down a second time, and again, the former was asked to stand.
Although Pena continued to land shots and wobble Nunes, a left-handed shot sat her down a third time. The fight remained a stand-up battle for the rest of the period, but it was in round three that Pena took her down and assumed top mount.
Nunes slowed the pace of the fight by keeping her down, chaining submission attempts after using ground and pound to soften Pena up. All it takes is one knockdown to seize control of the fight.
Aldana Has Great Kicking Game
In MMA, much like on the gridiron, a successful kick can and will be the differential between a win and a loss. Irene Aldana knows this firsthand.
Just look at the videotape of her last fight versus Chiasson. Round three saw the two stalking one another in hopes of making the big move. Chiasson threw a feint leg kick to Aldana’s head, with the fighters exchanging punches.
Later, Chiasson dumped Aldana before the former got up to her feet. After Chiasson got up, Aldana threw a high kick to her liver to break a rib and knock her out. If Aldana lands that big kick, the UFC 289 main event could be over in a flash.
The UFC delivers another marquee event as the summer of (competitive) violence continues. Don’t miss the UFC 289 main event.
Prediction: Amanda Nunes by Unanimous Decision.