Raquel Pennington battled to a tough split-decision victory over Irene Aldana at UFC San Antonio, ending her two-fight losing streak.
Raquel Pennington was coming off of back-to-back losses ahead of UFC San Antonio. Those losses came to Amanda Nunes and Germaine de Randamie, with the first of those being for the UFC bantamweight belt. In the following bout with de Randamie, Pennington missed weight for the first time in her career. She tried turning things around against a fighter in Irene Aldana on the other end of the fight-streak spectrum.
Irene Aldana had won three consecutive fights coming into her bout with Pennington. Her most recent victory came at UFC 237 against another former title-challenger, when she finsihed Bethe Correia in round three with an armbar. The women’s bantamweight division is lacking top-end depth right now. The chance at four consecutive victories in San Antonio was a great opportunity for Aldana to stand-out and find a way into the title-picture.
It was a feeling out process early in round one, with Pennington finding the range a bit better than Aldana. Aldana continued to pressure, and absorb strikes from Pennington whenever she got into range. Pennington looked calm and confident, doing well defensively throughout the first round. Aldana was the more active, but landed less and expended more energy than Pennington in the first five minutes.
Aldana landed a good right hand in the opening seconds of the second round, which were followed by a couple of strong leg kicks. Pennington responded with a few leg kicks of her own. Pennington came out a bit more aggressive in round two, but Aldana was able to continue to pressure from the center of the Octagon. Aldana seemed to have found the range halfway through round two, but Pennington was able to land fairly consistently as well.
Pennington then forced Aldana against the cage with around a minute left in the round. But, she was unable to secure a takedown. Aldana briefly got the fight back to the center of the Octagon. It wasn’t for long though, as Pennington pushed Aldana against the cage for the closing seconds of the round.
Pennington grabbed the momentum early in round three, landing her first takedown of the night. With Aldana on the ground, the Mexican worked for a heel hook, keeping Pennington out of an advantageous position. Aldana eventually took the back of Pennington. There, the position would stall, before Pennington worked into top position and worked for an arm-triangle submission. The fight ended with both fighters on the ground and the close decision going to the judges.
Result: Raquel Pennington def. Irene Aldana by split-decision (29-28×2, 28-29)