The UFC returns to Vancouver, British Columbia for UFC 289 on Saturday night. The 11-fight pay-per-view will be hosted by the greatest female fighter of all time. Amanda Nunes returns to the Octagon to take on No. 5 ranked Irene Aldana. This will be Nunes’ first title defense since reclaiming the bantamweight strap last summer, when she got revenge for a submission loss to Julianna Peña that ended her seven-game streak. consecutive title defenses.
The loss was a stark reminder that even the most dominant champions are human. The price of -1200 on “The Lioness” that night might have set a record for the most parlays broken in one night. Nunes was back to his dominant self in the rematch, but the shocking upset from 18 months ago is still on the minds of every MMA bettor. Nunes’ few minutes of mortality certainly had an impact on UFC main event betting. Let’s stop the fight.
Amanda Nunes (-350) vs. Irene Aldana (+260)
Most bettors will agree that the best version of Nunes easily covers that price, but the money rolling in to Aldana signals that not everyone is convinced that’s what we’re about to see. At this point in his career, Nunes is only adding to his legacy. Motivation being a question mark, it’s hard to stay behind -350. I never like to put big prices on fighters who have their eye on life outside the Octagon, and Nunes seems to live his best outside of the cage.
Aldana poses a unique threat. She is one of the few fighters in the division with the power to endanger Nunes in her pocket. Both fighters are similar in size. Aldana gives up an inch of reach, but recovers it high. Nunes has always been able to intimidate her opponents, but she won’t have to go far to hunt down Aldana. The challenger’s willingness to stand and rally is an attractive trait for a +260 underdog, but his negative strike differential (-0.32 significant strikes per minute) is a major concern against Nunes. The champion has devastating power for the division – a power that Aldana hasn’t felt – and letting her head held high at the halfway line will have serious consequences. This is a major factor that made me believe that Aldana could pull off the upset.
Live betting is a solid option
The million dollar question: Which version of Nunes will appear? You should be able to say it in two minutes, if not sooner. There is always the risk that Nunes Prime mangles her completely before betting her moneyline. Since beating Miesha Tate at UFC 200 for the bantamweight belt, five of Nunes’ 10 wins have ended in the first round, with the rest coming in at least the fifth round. Aldana is as tough as it gets, so she should be able to hang on long enough to decide which fighter you want to support.
The best bet and its correlation with the total
I don’t think the price of either fighter offers enough value to make me feel comfortable. I don’t expect Nunes to beat Cris Cyborg in 51 seconds, but I also don’t think we’re getting the one who ceded her title to Pena. I bet on a mature Nunes, excited to put on a show against a dangerous opponent as her career draws to a close. Nunes’ biggest advantage is his grip and the defense’s exposure against Aldana’s takedown. Sometimes the best offense is defense and putting Aldana on his back eliminates his most dangerous weapons. Aldana finishing Macy Chiasson with a kick to the liver in the back was impressive, but I’ll take a chance on her not catching lightning in a bottle again.
I bet Nunes will win by submission at +500 for a quarter unit. I don’t like combat from a bettor’s perspective, and it’s a way for me to invest a small bet with an opportunity to earn 1.25 units in return. It also leaves me the option of betting the fight live if an opportunity arises. You can play Nunes inside distance to cover the KO at -140, or over 2.5 rounds at -120. If Nunes enters the fight with the intention of wrestling, it makes sense that Aldana would be able to fend off some early attempts and consume the clock in the early rounds. In the end, I expect the champ to grind it down, lock a sub, and force the tap. Bet: Nunes via submission (+500)