Laura Sanko is taking a look at the main and co-main event matchups on the UFC 289 fight card.
There is a huge UFC pay-per-view card headed to Canada this weekend. UFC 289 is the first event being held in the country since before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The return event is set to be a huge one with some marquee matchups. The event will be headlined by a bantamweight title fight between champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Irene Aldana. The co-main event features a massive lightweight title contender bout between former champion Charles Oliveira and number four-ranked Beneil Dariush.
Brendan Schaub caught up with UFC commentator Laura Sanko to chat bout this fight card. Sanko gave her thoughts on the main event and how she believes Aldana’s boxing will be a tough test for Nunes and vice versa.
“The Southpaw thing could be a real problem because we did see Aldana struggle a little bit with that both with Macy Chassion and a few others,” she said. “I will say this, there are really not that many female fighters who are true switch stancers and do it fluidly and who are as offensively and defensively sound out of both stances. When you put someone with Amanda’s skill set already and then you add a new tool like that, I mean, that’s it’s gonna be an uphill battle. I was very excited about Aldana at first and like, Oh, her pressure her boxing, her power, size, or athleticism. Well, there’s lots to talk about. But then you go watch that Pena 2 fight again. You’re like, oh, I don’t know.”
Sanko can see a path to victory for both women. Nunes could be heading into her last UFC bout and although Aldana was a short-notice replacement, she has the training and skills to win her very first title bout.
Laura Sanko thinks Beneil Dariush has better grappling than Charles Oliveira
Sanko then turned her attention to the co-main event. Many people are calling the “the people’s main event” and are looking forward to it more than the bantamweight title fight. Sanko is among them as she stated she has been waiting for this bout. The fight between Oliveira and Dariush has been rescued before due to an injury to Oliveira. Oliveira is known as being one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the UFC, however, Sanko is giving Dariush a leg up on his competition.
“I’m not the only one saying this, I think Beneil Dariush has a better grappling game for MMA than Charles Oliveira does,” she said. “Which I realized sounds ridiculous.”
Oliveira has held the record for most submission wins in UFC history with 16 and is known for being very difficult to beat on the ground. Dariush’s last three fights have gone to decision and he has not had a submission win since 2019. Sanko thinks the ground game will play a big role in the fight and for good reason. The winner of this bout could be on the road to a fight with champion Islam Makhachev, a very solid wrestler.