5 Big Takeaways from UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana
UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana wasn’t the greatest MMA card of all time. It might have lacked huge star power or the type of entertaining subplots and twists of recent events.
But there is no denying that there was a lot to talk about following Saturday night’s mixed martial arts theatre in Abu Dhabi.
Here are the five major takeaways from UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana.
Holm Looked Excellent
Just two weeks off her 39th birthday, Holly Holm put in one of her defining fights in the UFC against Irene Aldana.
A former elite boxer, Holm has never enjoyed the same success in MMA. Her shocking knockout upset of Ronda Rousey in 2015 won her the women’s bantamweight title, but she lost it to Miesha Tate in her very next fight. The three subsequent title shots she has earned have all ended in failure, too.
Other than Rousey, Holm has not beaten what you can, or in Rousey’s case, could have called an elite fighter. Amanda Nunes, Cris Cyborg, Valentina Shevchenko, Germaine de Randamie, and Miesha Tate make up her five losses in the promotion. On one hand, losses to those names are nothing to be ashamed of. But failing to beat even one of them has seen her career on this weird, choppy trajectory.
Still, Holm is an excellent fighter. That has not been disputed by anyone. But the boring nature of many of her bouts has certainly led to fans avoiding her fights completely. On Saturday night at Fight Island, “The Preacher’s Daughter” landed 154 significant strikes. She blasted her previous record of 74 out of the water, which was not just impressive. It was also entertaining.
But perhaps even more impressive is the fact that Holm — who is not exactly known for her wrestling chops — managed to take Aldana down five times in the fight. This is the same Aldana that has only been brought down two times in her last eight and had the best takedown defense stats among women in the promotion.
This was a performance of dogged intent and silky skill that leaves no one doubting her place as a contender at 135.
Aldana Failed to Take Her Chance
Not only did Aldana fail to do anything of note against Holm, but she looked completely one dimensional and out of her depth. Which sucks, considering I was expecting her to shine.
A win for Aldana would have almost certainly got her a shot at the title, but now she must build another case for why she deserves to be in the mix. In this division, that’s not going to be the easiest thing to do. Especially when Holm exposed her lack of Plan B, her inability to adjust, and a real lack of Fight IQ.
Aldana has always looked a smart fighter, but when put under pressure and forced to compete against a version of Holm that was unexpectantly aggressive, she carried on with the same strategy in every single round. It was headless chicken stuff.
I feel for Aldana because she was absolutely outclassed. If she has plans of doing anything even remotely special in this sport, she needs to go back to the drawing board and make sure this never happens again.
De Randamie Got Her First Submission
Germaine de Randamie is one of the most decorated strikers in MMA. But a submission artist? Who saw that coming?
Of course, I joke. No, she is not a submission artist. It is highly unlikely that de Randamie will ever be a submission artist. Hey, even the chances of her landing another submission before she hangs up her gloves are too much.
Against Julianna Pena, the consensus was that de Randamie would boss on the feet and Pena would own the ground. The first round proved the Dutchwoman’s striking arsenal was far superior, while Pena almost got to her in the 2nd.
But de Randamie put that behind her to take advantage of Pena’s foolish disrespect of her submission skills. Pena paid the price and will forever be known as the 36-year-old’s first-ever submission victim. And probably the last, too.
Todorovic Passed His First Test
Dequan Townsend might have been 0-3 in the UFC ahead of this bout. But he is no joke and could have caused major problems for Dusko Todorovic in the Serbian’s UFC debut.
Showcasing some excellent combinations and good use of his power, Todorovic looked confident and assured in his first round in the UFC. Round 2 saw the more experienced of the pair taking the fight to Todorovic, but the now 10-0 Belgradian was electric in his response.
Todorovic eventually slammed Townsend to the canvas and asserted himself from the top with flurries of shots to pass his first test in the UFC with flying colors.
Condit the Winner
After five straight defeats, Carlos Condit found himself back in the win column on Saturday night. He only had to wait five years.
It wasn’t champagne MMA, and there will be few who remember it as a great fight. But he got the job done against a tough competitor, albeit one who is now looking down their broken nose at a 1-6 record from their last seven.
Condit has bought himself some valuable time in the promotion and can campaign for another fight, at the very least. But who out there would make for a good dancing partner for “The Natural Born Killer?”
Well, now that you’ve mentioned it, Condit as Nick Diaz’s comeback opponent does sound good. A rematch nine years in the making? Sign me up.