The storyline behind Irene Aldana vs. Yana Kunitskaya shifted dramatically at the UFC 264 weigh-in.
During Fight Week, Aldana had seemed like a potential contender if she could shake off last year’s disheartening loss to Holly Holm. Kunitskaya, despite having put together a couple of wins, appeared to take a back seat to her opponent. That all changed Friday morning, however, when Aldana missed weight by 3.5lbs for the bantamweight affair.
Suddenly, Aldana was in need of more than just a little redemption, and was far removed from the title picture.
Redemption, at least to some extent, did come for the Mexican fighter.
Kunitskaya closed the distance early Saturday, dipping for a takedown, though Aldana easily avoided that. “Foxy” piled on the kicks in answer to Aldana’s boxing, and stayed aggressive in the early going. She would close the distance and tie things up again, which led to several reversals along the fence. Rather uncharacteristically, Kunitskaya was right in her opponent’s face through the first two minutes. Aldana, however landed a right hand, and before long Kunitskaya’s nose was bloodied.
A body shot then gave Kunitskaya pause. She answered by going to the body with a kick. As the round progressed, Aldana found her timing, and with roughly two minutes remaining, Aldana dropped her opponent! Following that check left hook, she moved in for follow-up strikes, but that actually allowed Kunitskaya to recover a little. Eventually, however, Aldana would force Kunitskaya to give up her back; the ensuing barrage of punches to the face ended the affair.
R E L E N T L E S S 😤
— UFC (@ufc) July 11, 2021
Thanks to the weight miss, Aldana won’t advance as much as she might have. “Step by step” is what she suggested following the fight. It’s an approach that makes sense, given champ Amanda Nunes is already booked.
Official Result: Irene Aldana def. Yana Kunitskaya by TKO, Round 1, 4:35