We return to ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi for this week’s card, headlined by Holly Holm who faces rising contender Irene Aldana. While it isn’t UFC 253 quality the card does contain former champion Germaine de Randamie as well as two Heavyweight brawlers going head to head in the co-main. We preview some of the best plays for the card here.
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Holly Holm vs Irene Aldana
Holly Holm has had a memorable career, most notably her win over Ronda Rousey, which feels like a lifetime ago. Since then she has contested many title fights to no avail but has withstood many rising contenders to the point where she seems destined to finish her career out as a ‘gatekeeper’. However, a win for either woman could give them the next title shot at Amanda Nunes albeit largely due to the division being short on potential contenders.
Since fighting for the title against Nunes, Holm has only fought once where she won a decision against Raquel Pennington, the opponent which Aldana last lost to. Holm unsurprisingly has the advantage at kicking range and with her holding the reach advantage I expect that the majority of the fight is fought at kickboxing range. Aldana’s sharp boxing and crafty ground game will be made relatively redundant due to Holm’s clinch strength and range management. I believe this fight goes the distance and Holm gets the win on the judge’s scorecards.
Kyler Phillips vs Cameron Else
One of the best parts of analysing upcoming cards is going through the archives for UFC debutants that you aren’t accustomed to. However, what I found with Cameron Else was out of the ordinary to say the least. Else has finished his last six fights in the first round in which all bar one finished inside 90 seconds.
From the little available tape there is he looks like a sloppy striker with decent front chokes which begs the question how he has six fast finishes in a row. A dive into his opponents show his record is as padded as there is, with almost all his wins being against fighters with negative win records. Add that to the fact his most recent win was against a fighter with a 3-16 record and we have someone who shouldn’t be in the UFC. He can exclusively thank his connection to Donald Cerrone for this shot but I would be completely shocked if he wins. Kyler Phillips won his UFC debut against Gabriel Silva and has some sharp striking.
Phillips is a promising youngster who still has a lot to learn but is far more polished than Else. As long as he doesn’t try to take this down and just stands and strikes this is his to lose. Although the odds are slim it still should be easy money and expect Phillips to make quick work of Else.
Loma Lookboonmee vs Jinh Yu Frey
Lookboonmee I have plenty of time for as a fighter as only 6 fights into her professional career she has already toughed it out with Angela Hill and beaten Aleksandra Albu. While she often gives away weight due to being a natural Atomweight she meets Jinh Yu Frey here who is also a natural Atomweight. Despite losing her last fight to Hill, Lookboonmee put up a gallant display, landing her only takedown attempt and going pretty much strike for strike with Hill. Jinh Yu Frey lost her UFC debut to the talented Kay Hansen where she looked lost on the ground. I expect Lookboonmee to utilise her wrestling and pace to win this fight relatively comfortably.
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