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UFC 289: Nunes vs. Aldana Main Event Prediction

UFC 289: Nunes vs. Aldana Main Event Prediction

UFC 289: NUNES VS. ALDANA MAIN EVENT PREDICTION – Originally scheduled to have the rubber match with Juliana Pena this weekend, Amanda Nunes is taking on replacement, Irene Aldana. I think it’s safe to say the masses are more excited for this matchup than a third fight of a trilogy we know does not need to be completed.

Looking to continue adding to her legacy, Nunes is putting the Juliana Pena rivalry behind her and setting her eyes on conquering new tests.

Aldana hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow Mexicans Alexa Grasso, Yair Rodriguez, and Brandon Moreno who were all recently crowned champions.

Will a motivated Nunes show up once again? Or will Aldana pull off an upset over the G.W.O.AT? Read on to find out how these bantamweights matchup and if there are any viable betting angles.

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Amanda Nunes

It was extraordinary to see the rise of Nunes who came into the UFC off a loss under the Invicta FC banner.

She went 2-1 through her first three fights with the promotion then never looked back. Since that initial run, she is now 13-1. Her only hiccup came when she was clearly unmotivated and took Juliana Pena too lightly.

In their first matchup, it was clear Nunes did not respect Pena. She tried taking her head off from the start and spent herself trying to do so, ultimately giving up a half-locked rear naked choke that she tapped to.

However, we saw a motivated, hungry, and prepared Nunes in their second fight and we saw how the first fight should have gone. I wonder if that experience will keep Nunes from underestimating opponents again until she decides to hang up the gloves

Striking Bad-Assery

Nunes is a bad-ass striker who throws with absolute heat. She also has an educated grappling game where she can grind opponents out from top position.

She doesn’t over-extend herself trying to find the finish in those positions, which makes her even that much harder to deal with.

Most of the time she shows great fight IQ and knows where to take fights to exploit her advantages. Luckily for her she is skilled enough in all facets of MMA to be successful pretty much anywhere the fight goes.

The lone knock on her has been her cardio, but I think we’ve seen enough data to suggest that when she paces herself, she can go a solid 25 minutes without much issue.


Irene Aldana

Also making her way to the UFC through the Invicta ranks, Aldana has always been a fighter to keep an eye on.

After going 0-2 in her first couple of fights with the promotion, she has now put together a 7-2 run to help guide her to the biggest fight of her career.

She has only come up short against tough veterans such as Holly Holm, Raquel Pennington, Katlyn Chookagian, and Leslie Smith, but is clearly showing improvements every time we see her step into the cage.

She trains daily alongside Alexa Grasso and UFC newcomer, Diego Lopes. 


She has a kickboxing-centric style that sees her throw in combinations and showcase solid kicks.

She has shown respectable knockout power over her last handful of fights, specifically the Ketlen Vieira fight where she scored an upset victory over someone that many believed deserved a title shot.

The hole in her game seems to be her defensive grappling. Although she does show a knack for throwing up submissions off her back to create scrambles which allow her to get back to her feet, but I question the effectiveness of it against higher levels of competition.

At 35-years-old, it’s now or never for Aldana and I expect the best version of her this weekend.

FUN My Pillow

The Pick

This should be a fascinating fight. Although Nunes is a great striker in her own right, Aldana may have a slight technical advantage in how she throws her strikes. Nunes is more power-based; whereas, Aldana seems to have the mechanics down a little better, which scores her the knockouts.

As much as I’d like to see these women throwdown, if Nunes has her fight IQ in check, she will look to take this to the mat to give Aldana a limited path to win.

The narrative over the past couple fights for Nunes has been that she is unmotivated and close to retiring, so she likely is not training that hard.

That may have rung true for the first Pena fight, but I think that was a wake-up call for her that she needs to keep herself in tip-top shape if she hopes to keep her legacy intact until she decides to hang up the gloves.

I expect to see a grapple-heavy approach here from Nunes which should push this fight well into the championship rounds, so at the current price for the over 2.5, I’m more than happy to take a shot on it.

Manpreet’s Pick: Over 2.5 -125


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