The next four events will take place live from Abu Dhabi, and Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana marks the next card to bear the “Fight Island” moniker. An extremely modest offering with plenty of newish fighters getting some shine, this show could end up being another of those sleeper hits that we didn’t expect but are nevertheless appreciative of.
The main event will definitely matter to the women’s bantamweight division, as Holly Holm and Irene Aldana will take center stage to see who could end up in women’s bantamweight title contention. Let’s take a look at some of the facts and figures that could end up helping you select your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups.
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Irene Aldana, $7,800
Irene Aldana is a Southpaw striker who heaps on tons of volume, to the tune of 6.16 strikes per minute, while absorbing a substantial 5.92 shots per minute—a testament to her willingness to stand and trade, eating punches in order to land them. In her last five bouts, she’s fallen only to Raquel Pennington, a woman Holm has bested on two occasions (although the first fight was arguably Pennington’s). Aldana will have her work cut out for her, considering Holm’s penchant for gritty, ugly fights played out against the cage. This is where Irene will need to keep moving and keep the fight in the center of the octagon. A well-matched contest, this one could belong to either woman.
Kyler Phillips, $9,200
Kyler Phillips is an orthodox striker who has a big belief in volume. I was almost tempted to leave Kyler out of the Cheat Sheet due to his lack of stats, but the one fight that was able to be broken down to its numerical parts was a full five-rounder, so we’re including him based on that. He did have a fight on the Contender Series back in 2017, but it was just 46-seconds long, ending with James Gray, Jr. taking a TKO loss thanks to Kyler’s gnarly elbows and punches. Phillips averages 6.53 strikes per minute while only absorbing 2.09 in that same 60 seconds. His foot movement is excellent and his hand speed is also noteworthy. He packs power and is aggressive, to boot. Stat for stat, Phillips is the far better choice in this pairing.
Loma Lookboonme, $8,500
Loma Lookboonme is an orthodox volume striker who tends to be at a significant size disadvantage in most of her fights, but her opponent this time around, Jinh Yu Frey ($7,700), won’t pose much of an issue in that regard with Frey being a much more manageable five-foot-three. Loma is a very active fighter, averaging around 5.07 strikes per minute wile absorbing only 3.77 shots in that same time frame. She possesses the better ground game and manages to stay composed in tense scenarios. Jinh Yu won’t be an easy task, but the overall advantage certainly lies with Lookboonme.
Holly Holm, $8,400
Holly Holm is a nine-year veteran of the sport with an extensive boxing record before her MMA debut. She’s a strong Southpaw with extraordinary high kicks and the size to bully her opponents up against the cage where she can grind them out, all while landing opportunistic knees up the middle and power shots over the top. She’ll be facing a bigger opponent in Irene Aldana ($7,800), and one who has excellent striking capabilities. Holm has eight wins by way of knockout on her resume, with the last one coming three years ago against Bethe Correira. Aldana has a very powerful left hook, so Holm would be wise to stay out of range of that hammer. This fight will either put Holm back in immediate contender status, or it will set her up as a high-level gatekeeper.
Dequan Townsend, $7,100
Townsend is an oldish veteran (34 years old) currently on a dismal three-fight losing skid. Generally a low output striker, Townsend is wily and uses the cage well to grind out decisions. He’ll enjoy a 2-inch height and 5-inch reach advantage over Todorovic. Townsend fares well with his heavy handedness, racking up 12 knockout wins across the course of his career, with Hector Urbina being the last person to taste defeat from his hands. Dequan might not actively pursue ground exchanges, but once the fight hits the canvas, he’s quite proficient, and has five submission victories to his credit. This is a tough fight for him, but not an impossible task. He has leagues of experience over Todorovic, and if he keeps himself together, he can carve out a victory for himself.
Carlos Condit, $7,900
Carlos Condit hasn’t looked like himself in a really long time. That fight with Robbie Lawler was the last time I can remember the “Natural Born Killer” in his prime. And as much of a fan of Lawler as I am, I’m of the firm belief that Condit won that fight, but that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Only the wins matter and Condit hasn’t had one in over five years. He’s matched well in this contest with Court McGee, but it will be a tough road to victory. McGee is a grinder and his wrestling game (Condit’s Kryptonite) is very good. As a matter of fact, McGee is the tricky kind of opponent that Condit generally has problems with. Condit has 15 knockouts on his resume, and when he’s not turning off the lights, he’s angling for submissions (he has 13 of them, making him a candidate for our submission kings category). Once upon a time, Condit had a dangerous submission game from his back, and had the durability to come from behind to pull out an outrageous win, but those days are long past. These days, I cross my fingers and hope for a competitive fight, and in this instance, I think we’ll see one. The other question mark in this bout is cardio. Carlos has been off for nearly two years, so it’s anyone’s guess how his gas tank will hold out, but his last couple fights have certainly left doubts as to where his stamina is at. This also puts him in the dreaded gas guzzler list. Hopefully, the NBK will prove me wrong.
Jessin Ayari, $8,200
Jessin Ayari, a German submission specialist, was on a 7-fight win streak before he met up with Darren Till, dropping a decision to the Brit, and then another (although controversial) to Stevie Ray in 2018. This will be his first fight back, but the physical advantages certainly favor him in this matchup. An orthodox striker, Ayari will have a significant 4-inch height advantage over Vendramini, who happens to be an extremely low-volume striker with a better than average ground game. He seems to be the more well-rounded and stronger of the two, boasting eight submissions and three knockouts, but with both men coming off lengthy layoffs, it really is a guessing game of who will come out on top. My crystal ball says Ayari gets the job done.
Casey Kenney, $9,000
Casey Kenney is a fantastic athlete with a very, very good wrestling game. He has five submissions, with the most recent being over Louis Smolka just a few months ago (May 30). Kenny is a Southpaw striker with middling numbers—just 3.66 strikes per minute, but an absorption rate of 3.31 per minute, showing some holes in his defense. Kenney will have two inches in height and more than three inches in reach over Heili, who will likely be the more heavy-handed of the two men, although not the more active. The thing with Alateng is his low output and willingness to stand and bang. He absorbs a whopping 5.10 shots per minute, nearly twice what he lands. This will be right up Kenney’s alley. Heili’s unwillingness to be aggressive will play right into Casey’s hands, likely leading to a win for him.
Carlos Condit, $7,900
Carlos Condit, $7,900
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