UFC 289 was expected to be headlined by the rubber match between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Peña. However a rib injury from Peña has forced a change in opponents.
The MMA world was shocked when Peña beat Nunes in their first fight to capture the belt, but was far less surprised to see the only women’s champ-champ in UFC history regain her belt in the rematch. Despite the relatively one-sided nature of the second fight, there was a bit of surprise to hear that the UFC booked a trilogy between the two, rather than going with a fresh challenger in Irene Aldana, who has won four of her last five fights.
Amanda Nunes vs Irene Aldana Official For UFC 289
Shortly after the announcement was made that Amanda Nunes vs Julianna Peña was going down at UFC 289, rumors emerged that Peña may not be able to fight. This led to questions about how the main event for the promotion’s return to Vancouver would play out.
Speaking in a video on social media, UFC President Dana White confirmed that Peña was out of the fight, due to a rib injury. Stepping up to take her place is the person some fans thought was the rightful challenger from the get-go, number 5 ranked Irene Aldana.
“Julianna Peña was taking on Amanda Nunes, June 10th in Vancouver. Unfortunately, she broke her ribs. She cannot compete. We have Irene Aldana who’s coming in, who won four of her last five, and three of those were finishes. We could have another Mexican champion,” White said.
Breaking news………… pic.twitter.com/pNvr9Qo3I2
— danawhite (@danawhite) May 3, 2023
As Dana White alludes to, if Irene Aldana is able to beat the odds and defeat Amanda Nunes on short notice, she will become the fourth Mexican-born champion on the roster, joining the likes of flyweight champions Brandon Moreno and Alexa Grasso, as well as interim featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez. Of course, that is a feat that is far easier said than done, and will make for an interesting matchup.