In this weekend’s pay-per-view headliner, two-division UFC champion Amanda Nunes will look to open her second reign on the bantamweight throne with a successful defense.
While she was initially scheduled to complete her trilogy with Julianna Peña at UFC 289, slated for this coming Saturday in Vancouver, Canada, an injury to “The Venezuelan Vixen” has opened up the door for Irene Aldana.
The Mexican contender, who currently occupies the #5 spot at 135 pounds, has won back-to-back outings opposite Yana Santos and Macy Chiasson since a main event loss to Holly Holm in October 2020.
“Robles” will now look to join compatriots Brandon Moreno, Alexa Grasso, and Yair Rodríguez as the fourth active Mexican titleholder in the UFC.
According to UFC veteran Michelle Waterson-Gomez, Aldana would do well to learn from the success achieved against Nunes by the woman she’s replaced for the UFC 289 main event if she’s to have her hand raised come fight night.
Waterson-Gomez Points Out How Aldana Can Replicate Peña Upset Versus Nunes
During a recent interview with Matthew Pearlman, longtime UFC roster member and former Invicta FC champion Waterson-Gomez gave her take on Saturday’s main event championship fight.
While “The Karate Hottie” acknowledged the added motivation that Nunes has seemingly found since her 2021 loss, she suggested one notable weakness that was exploited in her sole defeat since 2014 and could be utilized by Aldana.
“That’s gonna be a hard one. I think that after Nunes experienced the loss against Peña, I think it really shifted a lot of things in her life and re-energized her,” Waterson-Gomez said. “But with that being said, the reason why she lost wasn’t because she was not focused, it was because Peña had a killer jab.
“It was a very unorthodox jab, but it was landing. Nunes couldn’t throw those big haymaker shots that she normally does with the other girls. It was just a little shorter than the jab,” Waterson-Gomez continued. “If Aldana’s able to see that and capitalize on that, beat her to the punch, it might be that same story. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens.”
As expected, the reigning bantamweight and featherweight titleholder will enter Saturday’s event at Rogers Arena as a considerable favorite. Per BetOnline.ag, the Brazilian’s line currently sits at -325.
But if Peña’s efforts at UFC 269 proved anything, it’s that nobody is unbeatable inside the Octagon.
And should Aldana employ the kind of gameplan suggested by Waterson-Gomez, perhaps she’ll follow in the footsteps of her teammate Grasso, who ended the rule of Valentina Shevchenko in a memorable upset this past March.
The time has finally come… #UFC289 Fight Week is 𝑼𝑷𝑶𝑵 𝑼𝑺 🏆 pic.twitter.com/kW3q1gs5Sl
— UFC (@ufc) June 5, 2023
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