We give you three of our best bets ahead of what promises to be a banger of a PPV card.
UFC 289 – Best Bets
Blake Bilder Outright
Blake Bilder returns for his second UFC outing having debuted back in January. UFC 284 gave Bilder a chance to step into enemy territory to take on Shane Young and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He out-pointed Young via unanimous decision to remain undefeated.
At UFC 289, Bilder takes on Kyle Nelson. Nelson is without a win since 2019 and lost two of his last three fights. Bilder is the far more active striker, averaging 6.58 strikes per minute and as we saw when Nelson took on Jai Herbert, he can be outstruck on the feet with activity.
Bilder is taking all the confidence into the fight as well as not knowing ‘how to lose’. Nelson, more than likely knows how not to get finished in this one. Bilder outright is a safe bet for this one.
Imavov vs. Curtis to go the distance
It’s never nice to assume that a fight will go the full 15 minutes, we all like to see finishes in the octagon. However, at UFC 289, it’s reasonable to think that Nassourdine Imavov and Chris Curtis will see the final bell.
Neither one of the ranked middleweights are notorious for their finishing ability inside the UFC. The Frenchman has finished two of his six UFC fights and the American has notched three of six finishes. Despite those numbers trending towards a finish, it’s the narrative that suggests that this one goes the distance.
Both men comprehensively lost their last fights. It was especially disappointing for Imavov, who faced Sean Strickland on late notice. Strickland filled in on roughly a week’s notice and managed to go a full 25 minutes with Imavov and outpoint him comfortably.
Curtis lost to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 287 in a fight of the night losing effort. What’s important is that neither man will take a huge risk in this one as losing could knock them out of contention for a prolonged period of time. No fighter wants to drop to 0-2, especially when they’re ranked guys.
Amanda Nunes to retain via Decision
The main event sees Nunes look to put another name on her record and hand Aldana her seventh career loss. The two women appear well-matched, arguably better than the original match-up between Nunes and her former foe, Juliana Pena. Pena had to withdraw from this one, however, the last time Nunes and Pena fought, it wasn’t remotely close. Pena was dropped three times and taken down six.
MMASucka predicts that this fight between Nunes and Aldana will go very similarly to Aldana’s fight with Holly Holm. Holm was able to use her superior strength throughout to control the Mexican on the ground for large periods of the fight. She was aware of Aldana’s boxing skills, so backed up enough to counter with clinches and get the fight to the floor.
Nunes has good takedowns but can also threaten with vicious strikes so expect her to mix it up. She can sting her opponent with strikes or, look to time her and ground her opponent when she gets close. There are more methods to victory for Nunes, but Aldana is dangerous with quality boxing. Nunes won’t take many risks, so Nunes gets her hand raised in this one after 25 minutes.