UFC 289 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana: Value’s on Underdog Title Challenger (Saturday, June 10)

UFC 289 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana: Value’s on Underdog Title Challenger (Saturday, June 10) article feature image

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC women’s bantamweight Irene Aldana of Mexico

  • UFC women's champion Amanda Nunes headlines UFC 289 on Saturday night.
  • The women's MMA GOAT meets challenger Irene Aldana in the ESPN+ PPV main event.
  • Below, MMA analyst Sean Zerillo breaks down the matchup and makes his case for the underdog.

Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana Odds

Nunes Odds
Aldana Odds
2.5 (-132 / +104)
Rogers Arena in Vancouver
11:55 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday and via FanDuel

UFC women's bantamweight gold is on the line on Saturday night in Toronto at UFC 289 as Amanda Nunes looks to defend her belt against No. 5-ranked contender Irene Aldana.

Nunes recaptured her 135-pound title at UFC 277 – with a dominant decision over Julianna Pena – following her submission loss to Pena at UFC 269.

A trilogy bout was initially scheduled for Saturday, but Pena sustained a training camp injury, and Aldana agreed to the short-notice fight about four weeks ago.

The bantamweight title’s on the line tomorrow!! 🏆@Amanda_Leoa defends her throne against @IreneAldana_ at #UFC289!

[ 10pmET / 7pmPT | Live on @ESPNPlus PPV ] pic.twitter.com/MkgzKYAFAh

— UFC (@ufc) June 9, 2023

Nunes has defended the bantamweight belt five times – and her featherweight strap twice – but Saturday will mark the first defense for "The Lionness" in her second reign over the 135-pound division.

Aldana is 4-1 in her past five bouts – but 0-2 in five-round fights, including an October 2020 loss to ex-champ Holly Holm.

Below, I'll provide my analysis and projections for Saturday's tilt (ESPN+ PPV, with main-event walkouts at approximately 11:50 p.m. ET) and utilize those factors to bet on the UFC 289 main event between Aldana and Nunes.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time9:5813:39
Weight (pounds)135 lbs.135 lbs.
Reach (inches)69"68"
Date of birth5/30/19885/26/1988
Sig Strikes Per Min4.405.39
SS Accuracy51%39%
SS Absorbed Per Min2.755.71
SS Defense55%60%
Take Down Avg2.610.20
TD Acc56%50%
TD Def82%81%
Submission Avg0.80.3

Relative to her division, Amanda Nunes is one of the most imposing athletes in UFC history. Nunes thrives on her power and physicality while bullying opponents with power punches, hammering them with leg kicks, or abusing them on the mat after powering through a takedown.

Still, utilizing all those powerful techniques can drain the gas tank of even the most elite athletes; Nunes has never shown the best cardio throughout her career.

Nunes is just 7-4 in bouts extending beyond Round 1. And she has never had a finish past the eight-minute mark in any fight – or beyond the first round in the UFC.

That's how Julianna Pena won their first matchup: surviving a first-round onslaught until Nunes eventually punched herself out in Round 2. She ultimately tapped to a submission that wasn't fully sunken in. Nunes was far more measured in the rematch, winning most of the early striking exchanges before utilizing her takedowns over the final three rounds (landed six of seven attempts) while racking up control time (spent nearly 12.5 of the final 15 minutes in control positions).

Admittedly, I have some concerns about Aldana's cardio, too, after she took the bout on short notice and with an 0-2 record in main events. But I still think Aldana has the better gas tank.

To justify her price tag, Nunes must finish Aldana early or do as she did against Pena and Felicia Spencer: land six takedowns and control positioning. Aldana spent time on the bottom against Macy Chiasson (landed three of eight takedowns, 3:28 of control time) and Holm (landed five of 14 takedowns, 5:16 control time), but she's never been submitted.

While Nunes carries more power, Aldana is the superior technical boxer, and there's a chance that Nunes grapples from the outset rather than striking early as she did in the Pena rematch. In that case, Aldana must weather the early storm and survive long enough until Nunes' cardio dips.

If she can deny the takedowns at some point in this fight and avoid getting clipped by Nunes' elite power, Aldana can make this extremely competitive on the feet. She moves well laterally and should be able to use the octagon to play matador and avoid Nunes' pressure. And Aldana might have the faster hands in the pocket to overcome a one-inch reach discrepancy.

Nunes typically bullies opponents with her significant physical gifts, but Aldana is always game no matter the opponent – and she won't be intimidated by Nunes' aura.

If Aldana can keep this fight standing – for any extended stretches – she can make this fight more competitive than the betting line suggests.

Nunes vs. Aldana Pick

In this bout, I project Amanda Nunes as a 69.4% favorite (-227 implied odds). As a result, I would bet Irene Aldana down to +250 (28.6% implied), at a 2% edge compared to my projection (30.6%, or +227).

I don't see value in the total, but I lean toward the "over." I expect the bout to reach a decision just 35% of the time (+182 implied odds), but the market is getting close to +200 on that prop.

Regarding winning method props, I would also consider tossing Nunes via decision (projected +260, listed +300) or Aldana via KO/TKO (projected +445, listed +650) into some round-robins.

However, I'd prefer you bet Aldana small pre-fight and wait to add more live after Rounds 1, 2 and 3, as Nunes's probability of finishing the bout decreases substantially.

If you want to bet on Nunes, I would play her Round 1 prop (around +280 to +300) or bet a same game parlay with Nunes and under 1.5 rounds.

The Picks: Irene Aldana (+260 at FanDuel, 0.25u) | Aldana Live after Rounds 1, 2, and 3

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