Irene Aldana vs. Yana Kunitskaya UFC 264 Odds, Pick & Prediction: Why the Wrong Fighter May Be Favored (Saturday, July 10)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC fighter Yana Kunitskaya.
- Yana Kunitskaya looks to extend her two-fight winning streak on Saturday night against Irene Aldana at UFC 264.
- Aldana missed weight on Friday and will have to deal with a wrestling-heavy approach from Kunitskaya.
- Sean Zerillo breaks down the matchup below, explaining how bettors should back the underdog.
Irene Aldana vs. Yana Kunitskaya Odds
Two top-five women’s bantamweight contenders will meet in the Octagon when Irene Aldana (No. 4) and Yana Kunitskaya (No. 5) face off on the UFC 264 main card Saturday night.
Aldana enters this fight after a loss to Holly Holm and is 3-2 in her past five fights while Kunitskaya has won back-to-back fights and is 4-1 in her past five fights. The winner of this fight could be in line for a title fight against Amanda Nunes down the line.
Below I preview the matchup and odds for tonight’s fight. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate.
Tale of the Tape
|Record||12-6||14-5 (1 NC)|
|Avg. Fight Time||14:48||12:20|
|Weight (pounds)||139.5 lbs.||134.5 lbs.|
|Date of birth||3/26/88||11/11/89|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||5.52||4.22|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||5.97||2.62|
|Take Down Avg||0.23||1.62|
Aldana was the only fighter to miss weight on Friday (139.5 pounds), coming in 3.5 pounds over the bantamweight limit.
Fortunately, I already bet the Kunitskaya side, and I like her even more now that Aldana may be suffering from a bad weight cut.
At distance, Aldana is the far cleaner striker, but Kunitskaya is very adept at controlling her opponents both in the clinch and on the mat. She stays active (500-plus strike attempts in her past two fights, combined) even when she’s being controlled herself (spent 8:38 in control, still won 47-7 on significant strikes and 215-35 on total strikes vs. Ketlen Vieira).
Aldana hasn’t shown great ability to get up off of her back, but even if she doesn’t take her down, Kunitskaya should be able to control her up against the cage for extended periods and win the majority of minutes.
Kunitskaya has superior metrics (+1.6 to -0.45 in significant strike differential) despite her strange style.
Holly Holm took Aldana down five times (14 attempts) and controlled her for more than a full round (5:16) in a one-sided decision. Kunitskaya isn’t nearly the same level of athlete, but I envision her having a reasonable amount of success in that realm.
Aldana vs. Kunitskaya Pick
I’m comfortable betting on Kunitskaya because she knows her limitations and will execute an optimal game plan. She has made noticeable improvements in her recent fights after moving her camp to American Top Team in Florida.
Aldana has seemingly peaked and is not going to get the distance striking style of fight where she excels most. Kunitskaya will turn this matchup into an absolute grind.
I projected Kunitskaya as a slight favorite, and I would bet her moneyline to -105. I also show value on her decision prop (projected +145) which I would sprinkle at +160 or better.
The Pick: Yana Kunitskaya (+100) | Yana Kunitskaya wins by Decision (+160)