UFC

UFC Fight Night + UFC 289 Preview — Analyzing the Top Bouts

August 22, 2023

The UFC Calendar rolls on and for the third consecutive weekend, no title is on the line in the upcoming card of fights.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t quality action coming our way, as the company will head to Las Vegas this weekend for a Fight Night, before UFC 289 in Vancouver the following weekend. We’ll look ahead at the biggest bouts in both events. All odds are provided by Tipico Sportsbook.

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Fight Night

9 p.m. ET, Saturday, June 3

This coming weekend’s Fight Night is highlighted by a flyweight main event between Kai Kara-France (-110) and Amir Albazi (-110). Kara-France will end a 10-month layoff that was prolonged after he was forced to withdraw from a bout in UFC 288 due to a knee injury. His last time in the octagon came at UFC 277, though he’d prefer to forget about the result — he lost to Brandon Moreno for the second time while suffering a TKO via a kick to the liver.

Meanwhile, Albazi has a lengthy track record of fights overall, but he’s just 4-0 in UFC. His fighting style is built around submissions, as 56 percent of his 16 career wins have come that way. That will create an interesting contrast in style, as Kara-France’s preference dictates that he keep Albazi on his feet, while Albazi will look to slow things down and take the fight to the mat.

The winner of this bout could set themselves up for an eventual title shot, though it will likely be multiple fights away with Brandon Royval seemingly lined up to take on the winner of Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja – set to take place in a co-main event at UFC 290 next month.

The other top fight of the upcoming weekend will be between Alex Caceres (-180) and Daniel Pineda (+155) in a featherweight matchup. Unlike the primary main event, we have a favorite in this bout. Caceres has a lengthy history in the UFC and he’s a good example of just how hard the business can be. From 2014-2017, he endured a 3-6 stretch. Since, he’s won seven of nine fights, five of which came off decisions, two from submission, and only one via knockout.

Caceres’ lengthy history is likely what makes him the favorite, but he may be vulnerable to Pineda – a relative newcomer to the company. There’s no ambiguity to Pena’s preferred fight style, however, as 68 percent of his 28 career wins come from submissions, as do 43 percent of his losses. If nothing else, that tells us he wants to get on the mat to engage his opponent, and that creates the recipe for an upset.

UFC 289

10 p.m. ET, Saturday, June 10

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On June 10, we get a title bout at UFC 289, coming to Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The main event will pit Amanda Nunes (-330) against Irene Aldana (+260) for the women’s bantamweight title.

Nunes was set to fight Julianna Pena, who had previously upset Nunes in one of the biggest surprises in recent UFC memory, for the third time in the last 30 months. However, Pena suffered broken ribs while training in early May and was since replaced by Aldana.

The style of both women is no secret, as Nunes has knocked out the biggest names of the sport, including Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey, while also submitting Miesha Tate via rear-naked choke.

Aldana earned her chance to fight for the title by defeating Macy Chiasson in a co-main event fight in UFC 279. She won that bout via knockout in the third round, and she has won each of her last three decisions by either KO or TKO.

Based on track record, it’s no surprised that Nunes is the favorite by a considerable margin. Even if she does win as expected, this has the potential to be a brawl with heavy shots delivered by both fighters. It’s the main event for a reason, and it has all the ingredients to live up to its billing.

Immediately preceding Aldana and Nunes will be Charles Oliveira (+110) and Beneil Dariush (-130), who will square off in a lightweight bout. Oliveira is coming off a title fight loss to Islam Makhachev in UFC 280. While that’s a ding to his resume, there’s plenty to like about Oliveira. His background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is apparent, as 21 of his 33 career wins (64 percent) have come via submission.

Dariush has a similar background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, though his results in his MMA career have been quite different. His wins are split almost exactly evenly between KOs, submissions, and decisions. Setting them apart further is the fact that Oliviera’s fights have gone the distance only four times in 42 career fights.

Dariush enters UFC 289 on an eight-fight winning streak, but Oliveira’s overall resume remains more impressive thanks to multiple title fights in UFC. If this fight goes the distance, history tells us that will favor Darisuh, but Oliveria’s ability to avoid decisions has been unrivaled. This is another spot for a minor upset.

Photo Credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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