Vancouver, Canada — The UFC’s long-awaited return to Canada, over three years in the making, arrives on Saturday with UFC 289 touching down at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Coincidentally, that was the site of the promotion’s last trek to the Great White North, a Fight Night event taking place at the very same venue in September of 2019. That card was topped by a fan-friendly match-up between Justin Gaethje and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone; UFC 289 has double-champ Amanda Nunes defending her title against Irene Aldana in the headliner.
That wasn’t always the plan, mind you, as the UFC had initially announced a trilogy fight between Nunes and rival Julianna Pena as this Saturday’s main event. A rib injury suffered by Pena foiled those plans, however, and afforded the opportunity for Aldana to secure the fourth UFC championship for Mexico in just six months.
The co-feature at UFC 289, meanwhile, sees ex-champ Charles Oliveira looking to stave off the surging Beneil Dariush, winner of his last eight fights. A lightweight title shot potentially hangs in the balance.
We’ve got our picks in for the Nunes vs. Aldana main card! Here’s who we see coming out on top.
|Writer / Fight||Barriault vs. Anders||Ige vs. Landwehr||Malott vs. Fugitt||Oliveira vs. Dariush||Nunes vs. Aldana|
|Alex Behunin (58-34)|
|Val Dewar (54-33)|
|Jamie Theodosi (56-36)|
|Chris Prawdzik (55-37)|
|Jay Anderson (48-44)|
|Dylan Rush (44-48)|
|Eddie Law (43-49)|
|Cade Morehouse (4-7)|
Surprisingly, there were no unanimous picks among our team when it comes to UFC 289’s main card. The closest thing to a lock was Mike Malott, the Canadian welterweight who has absolutely revelled in fighting at home all Fight Week long. Only one staff member sided with opponent Adam Fugitt in that bout.
Somewhat surprisingly, only two writers responding sided with Nate Landwehr in his featherweight showdown with Hawaiian Dan Ige. While Landwehr was the underdog with the bookies, he very much felt like a live one. Our team also sees Eryk Anders having the edge over Marc-Andre Barriault in their middleweight match-up, despite the “Power Bar” fighting at home.
The main and co-main events saw our team split 5-3 in favor of both ex-champ Charles Oliveira and current double-champ Amanda Nunes in their fights with Beneil Dariush and Irene Aldana.