- Date & Location: Saturday Oct. 3 @ Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi
- Odds: Holly Holm (-125) vs. Irene Aldana (-105) via Bovada
- Prediction: Aldana by decision
The pressure is on both fighters at the top of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 16 fight card. In that bout, which takes place at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, No. 2 ranked women’s bantamweight, Holly Holm, looks to put together her first winning streak since 2015. Holm ended a stretch of 10 straight victories by knocking out Ronda Rousey for the UFC women’s bantamweight title in November 2015. Since that win, Holm has gone 3-5 with three title fight losses.
Holm’s opponent, the No. 6 ranked, Irene Aldana, looks for her third straight win, but perhaps more important than that is, UFC president Dana White said in early September that Aldana would get a matchup opposite current champion Amanda Nunes if she defeats Holm.
HOLM vs. ALDANA ODDS
|Fighter||Odds (via Bovada)|
HOLM vs. ALDANA PREDICTION & PICK
Five years ago, it would have been easy to pick Holm to win this fight, but time catches up to all fighters and in 2020 time might have a grip on the 38-year-old Holm.
The former champion has more experience than her 32-year-old opponent and she is still an effective striker when her foe is engaging her, but Holm’s striking is almost strictly counter striking these days. With that, her opponents can craft a game plan for Holm’s style.
Aldana has landed more strikes than her past six opponents. She has won five of those fights. With that, she will most likely need to be less aggressive against Holm and pick her spots more effectively. Aldana is the more accurate striker, but not by much.
The wildcard in this fight is that Aldana was forced out of her originally scheduled matchup against Holm after she tested positive for COVID-19 in July. With that, there might be some questions about Aldana’s cardio should this fight go five rounds, which I believe it will.
Pick: Aldana (-105)
BETTING VALUE WITH ALDANA
Aldana scored the first knockout victory of her UFC career in December when she stopped Ketlen Vieira in the first round. That was her first knockout win in over four years. I don’t see her repeating that feat against Holm and I don’t see Holm getting submitted either as I expect this will be a striking battle. With that, I do think this one goes the distance.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Aldana is coming off the biggest win of her career while Holm remains mired in the worst run of her career. If confidence plays a part in this fight — and I believe it will — Aldana has the edge there.
Both of these women have good technical skills and as far as their striking goes, I think it’s a wash in the skills department.
However, Aldana is more active, more accurate and she also has better defense. When everything is considered, Aldana has the advantage.
FIGHT STATS: HOLM vs. ALDANA
|Holly Holm||Category||Irene Aldana|
|2.75||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||6.16|
|2.80||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||5.92|
|0.50||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.28|
|0.10||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.1|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
For Aldana, a shot at the UFC women’s bantamweight title is on the line. Holm is a different story. She might be the No. 2 ranked fighter in the division, but she had her shot at Nunes in July 2019 and Holm got knocked out in the first round in that contest, so it’s unlikely she will get another shot so soon. If Holm losses, she can expect to fall to gatekeeper status for at least a few fights.