UFC 289: Nunes vs. Aldana Fight Card, Predictions, & Odds

min read
Amanda Nunes (top) battles Julianna Pena on the ground in a mixed martial arts women's bantamweight title bout at UFC 277.
(AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Jun 07, 2023, 4:21 PM
  • Amanda Nunes is the considerable betting favorite at -350.
  • Irene Aldana is the betting underdog at +260.
  • This will be Nunes’ seventh UFC Bantamweight title bout.

Amanda Nunes’ (22-5) latest women’s bantamweight title defense headlines the return of the UFC in Canada this Saturday, June 3, as she defends her crown against the No. 5-ranked contender, Irene Aldana (14-6). Because of her dominance in the 135-pound division, backed with multiple title defenses, Nunes is the considerable betting favorite in the UFC odds at -350. On the other hand, Aldana has stepped in for Juliana Peña, who begged off due to an injury.

Aside from being a replacement for Peña, Aldana is the underdog in live betting at +260 because she already sustained four losses in the UFC (six overall), two of which came from opponents Nunes defeated. This will be the Mexican’s first crack at a title after competing in 11 UFC fights, winning seven, including four stoppages. Meanwhile, it will be Nunes’ 18th bout under the Las Vegas-based promotion, winning 15 and only dropping two.

Amanda Nunes Recent Fight Results

Amanda Nunes made her UFC debut in August 2013 and won five out of her first six fights to earn a title shot in July 2016. She maximized that opportunity by submitting Miesha Tate to become the new queen of the women’s bantamweight division. She then defended her belt thrice before moving up to the featherweight division and challenging Cris Cyborg for the 145-pound crown in December 2018. “The Lioness” knocked out Cyborg and became the third UFC fighter in history to be a two-division champion.

Nunes continued dominating both divisions until Peña scored a massive upset in December 2021 to halt her reign as the bantamweight champion through a second-round submission win. The two immediately fought in a rematch in July 2022, and the Brazilian MMA superstar got a dominant and lopsided revenge to regain her championship and restore her status as a two-division title holder. Nunes now wants to add Aldana to her list of victims.

Irene Aldana Recent Fight Results

Irene Aldana already had an impressive 7-2 record to her MMA record, as she competed in four different organizations before signing with the UFC in 2016. The Mexican had a rough start to her UFC journey after absorbing back-to-back losses in her first two fights. After those tough setbacks, Aldana ensured she wouldn’t be cut from the roster and fired three consecutive wins before receiving another loss to Raquel Pennington in July 2019.

After losing to Pennington, Aldana has won four of her last five fights, including three TKO/KOs, to secure a spot in the top-five rankings of the 135-pound division. When Peña withdrew from her supposed third meeting with Nunes, the 35-year-old was called to replace her, and she didn’t hesitate to take the once-and-a-lifetime opportunity of possibly winning a UFC title. She hopes to continue her recent form as she builds momentum from her two previous stoppage wins.

Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana: Tale of the Tape

Amanda Nunes Irene Aldana
Age 35 35
Height 5’8”5’9”
Reach69 inches68.5 inches
Leg Reach41 inches 38.5 inches
Record 22-514-6
Fighting StyleStriker Striker
Finishing Rate77%78%

Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana: Fight Analysis

The tale of the tape between Amanda Nunes and Irene Aldana is almost identical, as both are 35 years old and are only separated by a few inches in height, reach, and leg reach. Aldana will have an inch of advantage over Nunes, but Nunes will have a half inch of reach and 2.5 inches of leg reach lead against the challenger.

In terms of fighting style, both are also similar, with each  being a striker who likes to stand and trade. This approach is evident in their finishing rate, with Nunes at 25%, including a 0.71 knockdown average per 15 minutes, and Aldana’s 57%, along with a 0.30 knockdown average per 15 minutes.

The significant strike numbers verify the fighting approach of these two fighters, with the champion flaunting her 4.4 significant strikes landed per minute (51% percent) and the challenger flexing her 5.39 significant strikes landed per minute (39% percent). Defensively, Nunes absorbs fewer strikes per minute at 2.75 (55% rate) against Aldana’s 5.71 (60%).

Meanwhile, in the grappling department, Nunes holds the substantial upper hand in takedown average per 15 minutes at 2.61 (56% takedown accuracy) compared to Aldana’s 0.20 (50% takedown accuracy). The Brazilian champion also has a higher submission average per 15 minutes of 0.79 (with 82% takedown defense) against the Mexican’s 0.30 (with 81% takedown defense).

Nunes’ main fight plan should focus on establishing early pressure by controlling the center of the Octagon. This way, she can put Aldana on the back foot, where she can throw her patented combinations of punches and kicks, especially her powerful overhand right-hand punch, which helped her succeed in previous fights.

The “Lioness” can also mix her attack with takedowns to further control the match and maximize the damage she can create through ground-and-pound, much like she did with Peña in their rematch, where she controlled her throughout the bout. At age 35, Nunes might not have the same one-strike power she previously had when she knocked out Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg, but the Brazilian MMA superstar can still dominate a fight.

On the contrary, Aldana should not yield to Nunes’ enormous moving-forward pressure because she also possesses a lot of power in her punches and kicks. She needs to earn the respect of the defending champion by making her feel power through counters and exchanges that they will have, particularly in the early stages of the bout.

The Mexican challenger should also get valuable lessons from the previous fight plans that Valentina Shevchenko and Peña employed when they faced Nunes – to be in the face of Nunes and match her pressure. It proved effective versus the two-division champion because she barely escaped two decisions over Shevchenko and lost to Pena. 

However, Nunes still found a way to get over this counter pressure and found a way to win through her relentless combination of strikes and grappling. Nunes’ in-fight IQ has also improved tremendously, as she can adjust her strategy accordingly and find the pathway to victory. Lastly, the championship experience will also significantly influence the champion’s favor.

Official Prediction: Unanimous decision victory for Amanda Nunes.

See the entire UFC 289: Nunes vs. Aldana odds and wagers here.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.