UFC 289 Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana Picks and Predictions: Nunes Knocks off Yet Another Foe

Amanda Nunes was supposed to be fighting Julianna Pena in a much-anticipated trilogy bout in UFC 289, but circumstances have allowed Irene Aldana to take her shot at the champ. Our UFC betting picks see a potential for a great bout, but not an upset.

Last Updated: Jun 10, 2023 7:56 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana is the main event for UFC 289 tonight from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC.

The UFC returns to Canada for the first time since 2019, and MMA fans north of the border will get to see Nunes make her eighth defense of the women's bantamweight title.

UFC betting lines opened with the champ as a -450 favorite, but money has come in on the challenger, shifting Nunes to -315 and pricing Aldana at around +260. Here are my best free picks and predictions for Nunes vs. Aldana on Saturday, June 10. 

Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana fight odds

Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana method of victory odds

Method of Victory Amanda Nunes Irene Aldana
To win by KO/TKO +140 +600
To win by Points +300 +750
To win by Submission +500 +1,300
Draw +5,000 +5,000

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook on June 10, 2023.

Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana picks

Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana betting preview

Amanda "The Lioness" Nunes is widely considered the greatest female fighter in MMA history, and currently holds both the bantamweight and featherweight championships.

Nunes had a 12-fight winning streak snapped in December 2021 when she was upset by Juliana Pena. However, she was able to regain the 135-pound title by dominating Pena in a decision victory last July. The two were originally scheduled to face off in a trilogy bout at UFC 289, but Pena dropped out due to a rib injury and Aldana stepped in to replace her.

Nunes holds the women's record for most wins in title fights (10), and has a resume stuffed with victories against the biggest names in the sport. She has defeated both Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie twice, while also having first-round finishes over former champs Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, and Miesha Tate.

The Lioness is a complete fighter with powerful and accurate striking, elite grappling ability, and high-end wrestling. 

Irene Aldana is the No. 5 ranked bantamweight contender and is coming off a knockout victory against Macy Chiasson last September. She's 7-2 in her last nine trips to the octagon, with those defeats coming in a close split-decision to the No. 2 bantamweight Racquel Pennington, and a poor performance against Holm that she blamed on a broken foot suffered during training. 

Aldana uses her impressive takedown defense to keep things standing up where she can rely on her footwork, high-volume striking, and heavy hands to damage opponents. Eleven of her 14 career wins have been inside the distance, with her last three victories coming by way of knockout.

Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana tale of the tape

Amanda Nunes   Irene Aldana
35 Age 35
5-foot-8 Height 5-foot-9
134 lbs Weight 138 lbs
68 inches Reach 69 inches
22-5 (13 KO) Record 14-6 (8 KO)

Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana UFC prediction and best bet

While Nunes was able to bounce back from her stoppage loss to Pena with a dominant display last summer, the aura of invincibility that surrounded her has definitely faded. 

We saw Nunes get frustrated in that first loss against Pena and engage in a brawl where she ate some heavy shots, leading to a submission on the mat. If she gets into the same sort of firefight in this one another upset could be on the cards, since Aldana is a better technical boxer than Pena, with more power and superior counter-striking ability.

It's fair to question just how much Nunes' shocking defeat to Pena had to do with overconfidence and dwindling motivation after years of rarely being tested. We saw a far more complete (and less reckless) performance from Nunes in the rematch against Pena, leading to judges' scores of 50-45, 50-44, and 50-43.

That upset loss may have reignited the fire in Nunes, and she isn't taking her next challenger lightly, describing Aldana as more "technical" and "dangerous" than Pena. 

If Nunes utilizes all the tools in her skillset and doesn't fall into the trap of just standing and banging with Aldana, she will win this fight. We saw Aldana's grappling exposed in her last bout when she was taken down three times, and appeared to be losing before catching Chaisson with an up kick to the liver.

If Nunes uses her grappling to stall Aldana's offense and take her to the mat, she'll continue her title reign. 

Prediction: Nunes moneyline (-315 at DraftKings)

It's always tough to find betting value on a big favorite like Nunes, especially when that fighter is capable of winning by knockout, submission, or decision. In terms of the best value play on this fight, I like the fight to start Round 3 (or the Over 2.5 rounds if that isn't offered at your book).

I don't see Nunes steamrolling Aldana in the early going, and I think she'll use caution in the striking exchanges due to Aldana's power off the back foot. Meanwhile, Aldana has an 81% takedown defense and is tough enough to survive the first few rounds, but I think will be worn down by grappling and damage in the later rounds.

Pick: Fight to start Round 3 - Yes (-126 at FanDuel)

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