UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana

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Mimi Castellanos/El Paisano

Holly Holm and Irene Aldana face off for the first time at a Main Card Event. Aldana won 5 of her last 6 fights and has the 2nd highest Striking Rate in UFC Bantamweight History. Holly Holm is not only former 3-Division Boxing World Champion, but has the 3rd highest Takedown Defense in UFC Bantamweight History.

While Germaine de Randamie was putting Julianna Peña, the Venezuelan Vixen, to sleep, Holly Holm and Irene Aldana were preparing for the Main Card Event. This past Sunday, 18-time winning champion Holly Holm took on new blood in Irene Aldana for the Main Card Event. Competing in the bantamweight division, Holm ranked second and Aldana ranked sixth. Taking place at the Flash Forum on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, both competitors battled fiercely to get a shot at the title. Born in Culiacan, Mexico, Aldana came into the match with a  12-4 record and 6.16 percent signature strikes per minute. From Albuquerque, New Mexico, Holm sported a record of 13-5 and only 2.75 strikes per minute, facing a tough competitor.

“I’m still learning, still getting better, still evolving,” said the 38-year-old Holm in an interview. “There’s a reason I’m still fighting, I love it and I still want it”.

Off to the Races

Circling around each other, both fighters tried to anticipate each other’s first move. Holly threw a couple of straight left punches, while Aldana defended and patiently studied her moves. With 40 seconds left in the first round, Holm tried to pin Aldana to the ground, but Aldana fought back and escaped. Holm tried another take down, pinning Aldana against the fence and bringing her to the ground. Holm landed  a couple of hooks in the final seconds, bringing an end to the first round.

Second Round Struggle

As the second rounds starts, Holm was ready, pacing back and forth. Being the first five rounder for Irene Aldana, the intensity grew, with both fighters moving aggressively. While Holm fired off a 3-4-piece combination, Aldana hit a single counter cross back, looking to fire a body kick. With 2 minutes left, the Culiacan shot a leg side kick but Holm countered with another combo, shuffling forward towards Aldana. Clenching her to the fence, Holm tried for a second takedown of this fight, controlling her competitor’s wrists. With a minute left, Aldana went into a butterfly hook, transitioning to gain control of Holm’s head. She slid away from Holm but remained on the ground, protecting herself with her feet. Aldana took advantage of the spacing Holm gave her, jumping back on her feet. Aldana gave her Holm a few good kicks before  the second round ended.

Third Round Take Downs

The Former Bantamweight Champion, Holm,  started on her toes again as round three began. Irene Aldana struck first with a side leg kick. She followed it up by standing her ground, blocking Holm’s punches and head kick. Aldana then forced Holm to move left, giving herself a better opportunity to make her move. With three minutes left, Holm did a surprising level change, moving into another takedown on Aldana. Even though Aldana tried to get away from Holly Holm’s grasp, Holm secured a body lock, keeping her on the ground. Receiving a couple of body shots, Aldana then gets mounted on by Holm, receiving multiple hammer fists and a shoulder strike. Struggling to get back up, Aldana broke free only to be gifted some punches by Holm again.  Pacing around the octagon, both finish round three.

Fourth Round Fatigue

With two rounds left, it was anyone’s fight. Right as the five minutes begin, Holm tested the Culiacan with a jab, while the Mexico-based fighter tried for a jaw jab. The third round started off slow, with both fighters looking tired. Aldana chased Holm around the octagon, giving her a few side kicks and anticipating the former champion’s signature takedown moves. Both fighters missed on their initial and counter moves. The fourth round finished with no clear winner.

Final Round Beatdown

Coming to the final round, these last five minutes will determine who will win this fight. Moving back and forth, the two fighters looked for a secure hit to take each other down. Punches were thrown and evaded, with suspense growing in the arena. With 2 minutes remaining, Holm stepped in, giving Aldana a head kick and a couple combinations. Holm did one of her famous level changes to a body lock, pinning her opponent against the fence. Aldana looked tired, and Holm took advantage and attempted another takedown with 50 seconds left. Body locking her competitor, Aldana fought one last time, scrambling back on her feet. With only a couple second left, Holm gave it her all, finishing the round with a couple more hits.

Holm Wins by Unanimous Decision

By unanimous decision, the judges crowned Holly Holm the winner. Holm won the fight with 50 points, while Aldana earned 45. Holm surpassed her best record of 77 hits, earning an estimated 112 hits. Holly Holm won her second straight fight, improving to a 14-5 record. Irene Aldana’s record fell to 12-5. With Amanda Nunes on leave with her new family, The Preacher’s Daughter has a chance to win the belt.

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