UFC 289 Preview: One Card, Two Main Events

Chantel Buchi
Jun 07, 2023
Icon Time To Read6 min read

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For UFC 289, we essentially get two main events: Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana and Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush.

In the highly-anticipated UFC 288 event, fans were eagerly awaiting the clash between two talented fighters in the lightweight division: Oliveira and Dariush. Unfortunately, Oliveira postponed the bout due to an undisclosed injury. Despite this setback, fight enthusiasts can still look forward to seeing Oliveira and Dariush as the co-main event, sharing the spotlight with the main fight featuring Nunes and Aldana.

In this match, Nunes, the reigning Bantamweight champion, will fiercely defend her title against her opponent, Aldana, who is looking to claim the championship for herself.

All four fighters will step in the octagon on June 10, 2023, at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The first fight of the main card starts at 8:00 p.m. (MT) on ESPN+.

Nunes’ original opponent and her feelings about her new opponent

On June 10, we will get the luxury of watching the greatest female UFC fighter ever defend her title again. 

Amanda Nunes, a two-time and current Bantamweight champion, is excited about her new opponent because she wasn’t happy with UFC’s first decision.  

Nunes was initially supposed to face Julianna Peña for a third time in a row, but the Venezuelan Vixen pulled out due to broken ribs. UFC fans (including myself) were looking forward to watch them bout again, given the history—Nunes shockingly lost to Peña, but then Nunes sharpened her weaknesses and took her championship belt back. 

During the UFC 289 press conference, Nunes said Irene Aldana is the “real opponent” she needs to face in Canada because of what she “did to [Peña]” in July 2022.

Yes, I do believe Nunes showed the world she's the dominant fighter when she returned and defeated Peña. But the other side of me is saying she didn't want to fight Peña because she has a little voice in her head worrying that she could get defeated again.

The only way to settle the voices and prove that Peña isn’t her “kryptonite” is to fight for a third time and for Nunes to truly demonstrate she is the best of all time. 

She has displayed her greatness time and time again, but it would have been thrilling to see Nunes show beyond doubt she can overcome anyone.

Probably in the foreseeable future.

But honestly, I appreciated Nunes’ and Aldana's respect and love for each other during the press conference and face-off—to the point that they were both trying not to smile and found it difficult to keep a mean mug. 

Aldana is sitting at No. 5 in the Bantamweight division, and this will be her first title opportunity. And it doesn’t come without a heap of weight on her shoulders. 

If Aldana were to beat Nunes, she would be the fourth Mexican UFC champion crowned. 

Of course, there’s a chance for an upset, but there’s no denying that Nunes is a double champ for a reason.

Can Nunes really beat Aldana?

To answer the question upfront, Nunes is favored by -350 to Aldana’s +275. These numbers imply that Nunes has a whopping 77% chance of victory. If this number doesn't blow your mind, you already have a gut feeling that Nunes will win this fight easily. 

Or will she? 

Ok, who am I kidding? The Lioness has a record of 22-5 with five KO/TKOs. Nunes proved herself to be the best when she lost to Peña and came back seven months later to reclaim her belt because she is a relentless, tough-minded, fearless fighter that maybe no one could ever tap into until she retires. 

Her boxing is crisp and clean, she excels at takedowns and grappling, and she has a mean kick.

“She is unquestionably the best,” as Joe Rogan has said.

Both fighters are 35 years old, Nunes is 5’8 and 134 pounds, and Aldana is 5’9 and 138. Size is comparable, but their fighting success thus far is not. 

Irene Aldana has a spotty record of 14-6, with a cycle of winning a couple and then losing one. And she’s coming into the fight with a two-win streak due to KOs. So if the cycle continues … or she could perhaps break it.

Aldana's undeniably a powerful fighter and an excellent striker—but she must be exceptionally accurate if she wants to beat Nunes. 

That, combined with keeping up her striking defense and not allowing Nunes a wrestling opportunity, is how she can shake the UFC world upside down.

Oliveira and Dariush as the “co”-main event

Arguably, more people are looking forward to the fight between Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush than the main event.

It makes sense, though—Nunes has a high chance of winning, and this co-main event will determine who will face Islam Makhachev for the title. Will Oliveira face his foe again, or will Dariush get his first chance at a title fight?

Originally expected to be the co-main fight in UFC 288, Oliveira and Dariush postponed their bout to this weekend due to an undisclosed injury Oliveira endured during wrestling practice. 

Now, these MMA fighters will be meeting in the UFC 289 card. 

Oliveira has a solid 33-9 record and is coming into this fight after being stripped of his belt in October 2022 to Makhachev. So there’s no question that Oliveira has devoted time, energy, and sweat since then to get his hands on that prize again.

Before that, “Do Bronx” had 11 straight wins and has shown what he is capable of when tested. 

But Dariush could give Oliveira a run for his money. 

Dariush is No. 4 in the lightweight division with a 22-4-1 record, and he is entering the fight with eight straight wins under his belt. This MMA fighter is a slight favorite at +110 to -135, making for an even more exciting matchup.

The win is for either lightweight UFC fighter

The odds are saying Oliveira’s tough mindset and lifestyle will come in clutch for him. And they’re also saying Dariush is the best he’s ever been in his career.

But if you ask me, Oliveira has a better chance of winning. For one: he hands down has more experience. He's been in the UFC for 13 years and has fought in 42 UFC fights, with five of those being title fights. 

Dariush has been a UFC fighter for nine years with 27 fights and no opportunities at a title fight. 

Oliveira is a jack of all trades. He has exceptional Thai boxing skills and striking technique. He’s an excellent kicker and an elite grappler. And his stamina is top-notch. 

After UFC 274 in May 2022, Justin Gaethje said in an interview that he’s never felt a more powerful strike like Oliveira’s in his fighting career. 

And to quote the announcer Joe Rogan, he says Oliveira is “the most technical guy in the game” and “when he gets a hold of you, you’re in danger.” 

But he will be fighting an opponent with a strong punch and can hold his own in a grappling situation. Suffice it to say, Dariush might possibly be the better wrestler in this matchup. 

Oliveira might have 20 submissions wins, but if Dariush gets on top, he could do some serious damage. Dariush has exhibited the knockout power and wrestling skills he strongly possesses during his winning streak, and this is where Dariush could capitalize on taking the win and getting a chance at the title fight that he’s been so confident in receiving.

So, can Charles "Da Bronx" Oliveira bring back the dominance he had before he faced Makhachev, or will Dariush take his ninth consecutive win and finally get what every fighter wants: a title fight?

Predictions for UFC 289 in a nutshell

Amanda Nunes has a 77% chance of beating Irene Aldana in the main event to defend her Bantamweight title.

So this leads me to believe this could be a quick fight for Nunes, the Lioness (or the GOAT—whichever you prefer). If she wants to take the championship belt, Aldana must bring her A-game for striking power and accuracy.

The probabilities for either Charles Oliveira or Beneil Dariush to win in the co-main event are neck and neck—and both are battling for a spot in the next title fight.

Oliveira has an incredible amount of significant fighting experience, but Dariush might have found his groove and will undeniably be a fierce competitor for Oliveira. Personally, my money is on experience.

Chantel Buchi
Written by
Chantel Buchi
Chantel is all about finding the best tv or streaming service to watch as many football games as possible to keep her Fantasy Football team in check. Prior to being a TV and Streaming Tech Reporter for Reviews.org, she worked for NFL Network and The Alliance of American Football. Before that, she received a B.A. of Communication at the University of Utah and an M.S. in Sports Journalism at USC. Go Utes and Fight On. Contact her at chantel@reviews.org

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