(All stats according to UFC’s Record Book and Fight Metric as of June 7, 2023, and only include active athletes in their respective division unless noted otherwise)
Main Event: Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana
Key Stats: 10 title fight wins (5th all-time), 8 finishes (1st all-time among WBW), 0.59 knockdowns per 15 minutes (2nd all-time among WBW)
What It Means: “The Lioness” is considered the G.O.A.T. for many reasons. Her game is rock solid. Her flaws are few. Her highlight-reel moments are aplenty, and no woman is more accomplished in terms of accolades. The power she holds in her hands is special, and she plays with the respect she is given and fights with the joy and freedom other fighters often give her. Although striking is her bread-and-butter, she can switch things up and wrestle very effectively. Her jiu jitsu game is solid, but she also exhibits good top control, as well.
Key Stats: 5.61 strikes landed per minute (4th all-time among WBW), 61% significant strike defense (4th all-time among WBW), 84.4% takedown defense (3rd all-time among WBW)
What It Means: Aldana is a long, rangy boxer with some wicked power, especially when she throws a hook off the break. She is rather strong in the clinch, which shows when she is defending takedowns along the fence. She is proactive with her hips when opponents take a shot, and she can keep them at bay with a beautiful jab.
What to Look For in the Fight: Nunes and Aldana measure nearly identical in terms of height and reach, so the distance will be crucial and who is applying pressure is important, as well. Nunes could use her footwork to walk Aldana into some heavy counters or get her leaning and vulnerable to a takedown. Aldana might be able to match Nunes’ knockout power with the right shot, so Nunes could mix things up early to sap Aldana’s energy and danger as the fight progresses.
Co-Main Event: Charles Oliveira vs Beneil Dariush
Key Stats: 16 submissions (1st all-time), 6:08 average fight time (7th shortest all-time among LW), 54.4% significant strike accuracy (7th all-time among LW)
What It Means: “Do Bronx” can’t help it: he loves to walk forward and fight. At times, this leaves him vulnerable defensively, but often, it leads to thrilling fights that end with his hand raised. His jiu jitsu is as good as anyone’s we’ve ever seen, and he is creative in the ways he throws up submissions. On the feet, he is an ultra-aggressive and tight Muay Thai striker. His clinch strikes are brutal, especially his knees to the body. He utilizes his long frame to his advantage and throws beautiful, long strikes. He has also shown the ability to wrestle and control his opponent over the course of a round.
Key Stats: 5 submission wins (tied-8th all-time among LW), 7 knockdowns landed (tied-5th), 40% control time percentage (8th)
IMPORTANT INFO: How To Watch UFC 289 In Your Country
What It Means: Dariush is a wicked grappler with some real awe-inspiring power in his hands, and he throws with the abandon of a man who is quite comfortable on the ground. When he plants his feet and throws, the results are destructive, and he is also dynamic with his striking, as he is not shy about throwing spinning and high-risk attacks. On the ground, Dariush is suffocating and a tangled web of danger.
What to Look For in the Fight: These two aren’t mirrors of each other but, on paper, they are a skill-for-skill match. Oliveira might be a little lighter on his feet, but Dariush trades that for devastating power from his overhand punches. On the ground, it won’t necessarily be a wash, but both are sharp enough to submit the other if there is a single lapse of focus. Generally, Oliveira is the bigger risk-taker and can often leave himself open to an unfavorable position when he takes said risks, but they almost have an equal chance to bring him that winning moment.
Other Fights to Watch (Dan Ige vs Nate Landwehr, Nassourdine Imavov vs Chris Curtis)
Key Stats: 3.8 strikes landed per minute, 1.25 takedowns averaged per 15 minutes, 26% takedown accuracy
What It Means: Ige is a rock-solid fighter. He has one-punch knockout power in his hands, but he is patient and methodical about choosing when to sit down on a punch. His wrestling is fundamentally sound, and he has a particularly strong grip that gives him advantages against the fence.
Key Stats: 6.47 strikes landed per minute (5th all-time among FW), 86.4% takedown defense (4th all-time among FW), 5.51 strikes absorbed per minute
What It Means: Landwehr is a wild man, but since moving to MMA Masters in Miami, he has exercised a bit more patience than he did back when he was the M-1 featherweight champion. “The Train” is now much lighter on his feet and likes using front and body kicks with high frequency. He has less of the one-shot power at his disposal, but he does have good cardio and a high pace that can melt lesser opponents.
What to Look For in the Fight: While this would be a hugely entertaining scrap if both men decided to sit in the pocket and trade, Ige’s wrestling is probably his cleanest path to victory while Landwehr is best served moving forward and swarming the Hawaiian.
Key Stats: +1.65 striking differential (4th), 63% significant strike defense (tied-2nd), 2.43 strikes absorbed per minute (5th)
What It Means: Imavov is an athletic and swift fighter who moves well for his size and strikes with ease. When he is bouncing on his feet and in rhythm, he takes beautiful angles on his punches and kicks, stringing together good combinations. He has submissions in his arsenal, but staying on his feet and peppering his opponent from the outside is his game. He is defensively sound, as well, and is happy to float on the outside while countering.
Key Stats: 5.29 strikes landed per minute (8th all-time among MW), 6.22 strikes absorbed per minute, 55% striking defense
What It Means: Curtis is a marauding fighter whose self-described strategy boils down to “hit the other guy really hard.” He is a crafty veteran on the feet, rolling with punches well and countering with a heavy right hand when presented the opportunity. Although he is nearly always moving forward, he stays defensively sound behind a shoulder-roll type shell. He has a granite chin that he trusts when waiting for a chance to uncork a power shot to turn the tide of the fight.
What to Look For in the Fight: Imavov is well-served to rely on his footwork and allow Curtis to chase him, which Curtis’ past opponents have found success doing. That said, Curtis only needs one chance to slip a punch and counter with one of his own before breaking his opponent down. Imavov’s kicks will be important in scoring points and getting an early lead on Curtis, who is a little prone to starting slow as he finds a rhythm and distance to operate within and find his spots.
UFC 289: Nunes vs Aldana took place live from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada on June 10, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!