Irene Aldana Replaces Injured Julianna Pena In UFC 289 Headliner Against Amanda Nunes

Aldana steps in to fight Nunes for the UFC Bantamweight title.

Nunes Aldana
(via @amanda_leoa, @irene.aldana - Instagram)

Amanda Nunes has a new opponent for her next title defense.

UFC 289: Nunes vs. Aldana

The women’s UFC bantamweight champion was originally booked to fight old rival Julianna Pena for a third time in the main event of UFC 289. However, ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ won’t be fighting in Vancouver after all, according to Dana White. 

The UFC President announced the fight fallout on Tuesday, revealing that Pena had suffered a rib injury during training camp. Filling in for Pena will be the #5 ranked contender, Irene Aldana.

“Unfortunately, [Pena] broke her ribs, she can not compete,” White said in a video. “We have Irene Aldana who’s coming in, [she has] won four out of her last five and three of those were finishes… We could have another Mexican world champion.”

The Lead-Up

Aldana was supposed to take on Raquel Pennington in a rematch as a five-round main event for May 20th. The Mexican fighter will still do a headliner, but this time with a title on the line. 

The 35 year-old Aldana is on a two-fight win streak, scoring TKO’s over Yana Santos and Macy Chiasson in her last outing.

Nunes, on the other hand, avenged her first loss in seven years to Julianna Pena. ‘The Lioness’ largely dominated her prey in Pena the second time around at UFC 277 and was looking forward to doing it again at UFC 289. But, of course not everything goes according to plan as Pena ultimately pulled out.

We’ll see if Amanda Nunes’ fresh new opponent Irene Aldana will present any problems to the two-time champ.

Published on May 2, 2023 at 11:03 pm
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