In the main event tomorrow night at UFC 289, the women’s bantamweight title is on the line. Arguably the greatest of all time in Amanda Nunes (22-5) is back as she takes on surging top contender Irene Aldana (14-6).
Now, this wasn’t the original main event for tomorrow night. Nunes was supposed to face Julianna Pena for the third time, however, a Pena injury opened the door for Aldana. Aldana was supposedly Nunes’ preferred choice because she was a fresh challenge.
Aldana gets this shot on the heels of going 4-1 in her last five with the lone loss coming to Holly Holm. She’s won back-to-back fights over Macy Chiasson and Yana Santos to earn this shot at the champion.
Amanda Nunes hadn’t lost since 2014 when she took on Julianna Pena at UFC 269. That night, she was upset and stopped in the second round. She didn’t take the challenge seriously and she paid for it. A more motivated Nunes returned in the rematch and she dominated all five rounds. Now, she gets a fresh challenge in Aldana.
UFC 289 Prediction
The big question going into this fight is the motivation level for Amanda Nunes. The UFC’s two-division champion is nearing the end of her career and she’s accomplished everything that there is to accomplish. You have to think the motivation isn’t the same.
Meanwhile, Aldana has more motivation than ever and she’s seeking to become the fourth Mexican born fighter to win a UFC title this year. Brandon Moreno, Yair Rodriguez, and Alexa Grasso have all claimed gold. Could Aldana become the fourth?
On the feet, Aldana can hold her own with Nunes. Nunes has power that’s unmatched, but if she’s lackidasical with her technique, Aldana can crack her. A big concern for me with Aldana is the grappling. We saw in the Germaine De Randamie fight that Nunes can go to her grappling if need be.
Aldana did not do good against Chiasson with her grappling. I think that’s going to play a big factor here. I don’t see a blow out one way or the other at UFC 289. I think Aldana has her moments, but there’s just too many tools for the champion and I think Nunes will retain and get a late stoppage or submission.
Prediction: Amanda Nunes by TKO – Round 4