Irene Aldana



Big underdog in title fight
June 5, 2023
Aldana enters fight week as approximately a (+270) betting underdog for Saturday's UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship fight against Amanda Nunes.
Aldana heads into her first UFC title fight against one of the greatest women's pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, and she gets this opportunity following the early-May withdrawal of former champion Julianna Pena (ribs). Aldana wasn't too far out of the title queue, however, as she won four of her last five fights with three stoppages and two Performance of the Night bonuses. When the cage doors close against Nunes, Aldana will enter as the higher-volume striker, but she's also prone to questionable defense at times, as she absorbs more than twice as many significant strikes as Nunes on a per-minute basis. Nunes also is more prone to shoot for the takedown, though Aldana does have a respectable 81 percent takedown defense. On paper, both combatants measure within an inch of each other in both height and reach.
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Fighting for title
May 2, 2023
Aldana will replace Julianna Pena in the bantamweight championship fight at UFC 289 in Vancouver on June 10 against Amanda Nunes, reports.
Aldana has a career record of 14-6 but will take on Nunes for the biggest fight of her career. Aldana has a career takedown defense of 80 percent, which should prove valuable against Nunes' tendency to win via submission.
To main event 73
April 18, 2023
Aldana is slated to square off against Raquel Pennington at UFC 73 on May 20, reports.
Aldana previously loss to Pennington via split decision in a bout back in July of 2019. The winner of this rematch is expected to draw the winner of Amanda Nunes' and Julianna Pena's trilogy and get a shot at the UFC women's bantamweight championship. Aldana currently sports the No. 6 ranking in that divison and has won four of her previous five fights. Meanwhile, Pennington is ranked No. 3 and a winner of five straight.
Expected to fight March 25
January 26, 2023
Aldana is expected to fight Raquel Pennington at the UFC event on March25, Carlos Contreras Legaspi of ESPN Deportes reports.
Aldana was unable to come to an agreement with Amanda Nunes to fight at the UFC Bantamweight Championship, but she will get a second crack at Pennington. The two matched up back in July of 2019 when Pennington won by split decision.
Title shot falls through
January 25, 2023
Aldana won't fight Amanda Nunes for the UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 285 on March 4 after the two sides were unable to come to an agreement, Raphael Marinho of reports.
Aldana was poised to receive her first title shot at UFC 285, but the contract was never official and negotiations broke down after being reported last week. The 34-year-old has won four of her past five bouts and is coming off a KO victory over Macy Chiasson in September. It's unclear when Aldana or Nunes will make their next appearance.
Gearing up for title shot
January 18, 2023
Aldana is being targeted for an opportunity to gain the UFC Bantamweight Championship against Amanda Nunes at UFC 285 on March 4, Raphael Marinho of reports.
Aldana has won four of her last five fights, including two Performance of the Night bonuses, setting her up for her first title shot with the company. She'll enter as a betting underdog against Nunes -- one of the longest-reigning champions in the UFC who recently got back her belt with a July unanimous decision victory over Julianna Pena. Aldana is a striker by nature with a solid volume mark of 5.39 significant strikes landed per minute, and she also sports an above-average 91 percent takedown defense. The concern is that it hasn't held up against high-level competition, as she was taken down five times in an October 2020 loss to Holly Holm (not a natural wrestler), as well as three times against Macy Chiasson before coming back to get the finish last September. Aldana could realistically escape with a decision if she manages to remain upright, but that's easier said than done against Nunes, who registered six takedowns in her most recent title defense.