UFC 289 Preview: Mac Mally
The UFC returns to the Great North this weekend as UFC 289 crashes back into Canada with a PPV that should provide many memorable moments. UFC guru Mac Mally breaks down some of the chaos with his UFC 289 preview.
Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana
Amanda Nunes is the GOAT of women’s MMA. There is no question at this point. With that said, even GOATs have weaknesses. Irene Aldana presents a unique challenge at 135 as an accurate striker that has the power to stop the fight. I think I speak for most when I say I’m actually happier with this matchup than a Pena trilogy.
I suspect Aldana might have the toolbox to recreate the upset Pena did at UFC 269 but I also fear Nunes’ complacency at the top and unexpected barrage on the feet may have been the deciding factor at 269 because with a revised camp and focus, Nunes completely neutralized her in the second fight.
Pena is a grappler who found success on the feet. Can Irene Aldana recreate that upset? Time will tell. Irene is a much crisper striker but one thing may go overlooked. She gets hits statistically a lot more. She also doesn’t have the ground game Pena does. Holly Holm took her down multiple times in her last defeat and if Holly can, I imagine Nunes should have no problem. Now if Irene Aldana can keep the fight at range and rack up shots without getting taken down, I could easily see the tides turn as the fight goes on.
Amanda Nunes is a ready, set, go, type of fighter and keeping her at range and trying to fight at your pace seems to be the key to victory, if any.
MAC’S MONEY: NUNES WIN @ -325
Charles Oliveira vs Beneil Dariush
This fight is a BANGER. The return of Oliveira and the continuing resurgence of Dariush. I got a few things to say about this fight right off the bat. I don’t want either to lose. With that said, this fight brings an interesting matchup to the forefront of the division.
Charles is DANGEROUS from everywhere. Beneil has shown he can be as well. That’s specifically what I want to dive into. Charles brings chaos, with deadly striking and grappling. Beneil usually INVITES that chaos. Charles Oliveira’s more lackluster performances have typically come from people who don’t want to constantly engage.
If you want to start a fire in a fight, Oliveira is more than happy to put it out. Beneil is different in that regard. Beneil is happy wherever you want to take it. That monster left hand is no joke as well. What we saw in Charles’ title run was him getting hurt and embracing that chaos to put out the fire. Makhachev came around and laid the blueprint. I feel like Beneil might have the same approach. Dominant wrestler in his own right and a slept-on power striker when needed.
I find it hard to pick this one, but the longer it goes, the more I have Beneil. He’ll take the chances a very hungry Oliveira will give him and not fall for the trap so many have fallen into before him. I’ll be taking the slight favourite Beneil Dariush (-155) in this one and might even sprinkle some on a finish (+135).
MAC’S MONEY: DARIUSH WIN @ -155 / DARIUSH STOPPAGE @ +135
Lock Of The Card: Dan Ige vs Nate Landwehr
This is a fan friendly fight if I’ve ever seen one. Nate “The Train” Landwehr’s nickname is spot on because once he gets going, he doesn’t stop bulldozing ahead. Dan Ige is no stranger to standing and banging and is one of the harder hitters at 145.
While he is 2-3 in his last 5, he took a significant upgrade in competition in those three losses. Nate Landwehr is as durable as they come, and if he can drag this fight into deep waters I could see his gas tank getting him a late fight submission. With that said, I think he gets hit too much and is a perfect target for someone like Dan Ige to make it two in a row in the win column. I’ll be putting my money on Dan Ige by TKO (+165).
MAC’S MONEY: IGE BY TKO @ +165
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*All odds correct at the time of publishing.