UFC Fight Night: Holm vs Aldana Preview

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Not the most exciting Fight Night in prospect, but Jeff Fox is here to mark your cards and pick some winners.

UFC fighters Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington in action

The UFC continues its second run on UFC Fight Island (aka Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE), with a rather lackluster card, at least on paper. It ranks as one of the worst, in terms of quality of talent on it since I started tracking such things a few years ago.

But, as I’ve said in the past, the quality of a fight lineup has no bearing on our ability to win money on it. And I plan on having some winning picks for this Fight Night, regardless of who’s on it.

Fan Favourite Holly Holm

Our main event pits fan favourite, and former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, Holly Holm against top contender Irene Aldana, winner of two-straight and five of her last six (with a split decision loss to Raquel Pennington her only blemish since January 2018).

The MansionBet sportsbook currently have this one almost in pick ‘em territory, with Holm a slight favourite at 4/5, with her Mexican counterpart sitting at 10/11. However, all my key factors that help me pick a winner point towards Aldana getting the biggest win of her career on Saturday. She’s seven years younger than Holm, which is a pretty significant gap (while it is never polite to reveal a woman’s age, HH will be turning 39 in a couple of weeks). She’s a significantly more active striker, is more accurate, and has better defense. While neither woman is much of a grappler in the cage, Aldana’s stats in that category are superior as well. Aldana also has the momentum, as mentioned above, while Holm has won one, lost the next, over the past three years (her last fight was a win, so she’s due for a loss).

So, it makes my pick for this fight glaringly obvious – Holly Holm. WHAT, you say?! Despite all the above factors, I’m picking Holly Holm to win this fight on Saturday night. The main reason being she only loses to the elite of the elite in the sport. Her five stumbles in pro MMA were to Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko, Germaine de Randamie, Cris Cyborg, and Amanda Nunes. A rogues’ gallery of killers in women’s MMA history. Aldana doesn’t belong in this class, at least not yet.

A factor that shouldn’t be overlooked, either, heading into this fight is the fact that Aldana is just getting over a particular nasty case of COVID-19 that she contracted near the end of July, which postponed this fight until this week. Who knows what kind of training she’s been able to partake in and what physical and mental state she’ll be in when she steps into the cage on Fight Island. Holm via decision, in probably a pretty boring fight, is my prediction.

Champ vs Ultimate Fighter

The only other intriguing fight on this card is another women’s 135 pound one between the former champ at 145 pounds, Germaine de Randamie, and the first female winner of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, Julianna Pena. Everything I wrote for the main event pretty much applies to this fight, as well. All the stats point towards a win for Pena – much younger, better striking stats, much better grappler. But, despite this, I’m going against the numbers once again and I’m picking “The Iron Lady” at 20/31.

GDR has a very similar resume to Holly Holm – a former champion who only loses to the elite of the elite in the UFC. In fact, she’s only lost to one person in the UFC – the Greatest of All-Time, Amanda Nunes. Plus, Pena has been rather inactive over the past three years due to injury and giving birth.

If you’re looking for underdog picks, you’re on your own this week – nothing jumps off the screen at me for Saturday.

Jeff Fox offers expert insight into the world of MMA & UFC betting from his years of experience in the industry. His work has appeared in publications such as SI.com, St Louis Post-Dispatch, SLAM, Fighters Only Magazine & FIGHT!, among many others. Jeff shares his UFC betting tips with MansionBet readers on a weekly basis.

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