With a somewhat weaker card on paper, the hope was that we’d get plenty of action inside the Octagon, and to be fair, most of the fighters on show stepped up. Unfortunately for the UFC though, the results of a number of the fights probably didn’t go the way they’d hoped for.
Here are the best and worst moments from UFC on ESPN: Holm vs. Aldana.
#1 Best: Condit picks up his first win since 2015
Former UFC Welterweight champion Carlos Condit had fallen on hard times as of late. Before last night, ‘The Natural Born Killer’ hadn’t won a UFC fight since his 2015 stoppage of Thiago Alves. His five-fight skid definitely suggested that at 36 years old, his time at the top of the UFC’s Welterweight division was over.
Last night saw Condit faced with an opponent – Court McGee – who sat slightly further down the ladder than his most recent foes, but it felt like the UFC were writing him off, too. For the first time in his 11-year UFC career, ‘The Natural Born Killer’ was on the preliminary portion of a show.
Surprisingly enough though, Condit was able to pull through. Sure, he took some heavy shots from ‘The Crusher’, particularly to the legs. But when he dropped the TUF 11 winner at the end of the first round, the fight was only going one way. In the end, Condit cruised to a surprisingly comfortable decision win.
Was it a return to vintage form for the former UFC champ? Well, the Condit of 2011 would probably have finished McGee off, but that’s beside the point. It was great to see ‘The Natural Born Killer’ get his hand raised – and with that, it might be a good idea for him to hang his gloves up on a high.
#1 Worst: The UFC’s Bantamweight plans go up in smoke
On paper at least, it felt like the UFC were looking to use this card to find a new contender for UFC champ Amanda Nunes in the Bantamweight division.
Nunes had brutally dealt with both Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie in 2019. So last night saw both former contenders faced with up-and-comers, with the hope that at least one of those up-and-comers would come through with a win and claim the next title shot.
That simply didn’t happen, though. De Randamie largely dominated Pena on the feet, and despite a good second round on the ground for ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’, ‘The Iron Lady’ then surprised her in the third with a tight guillotine choke to leave her unconscious.
The main event, meanwhile, saw Holm pull out probably her best showing since her 2017 KO of Bethe Correia. Her opponent, Irene Aldana, showed a ton of aggression, but her usually slick boxing game simply looked inadequate against a far sharper striker.
In the end, ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ was comfortable for five rounds and simply picked the Mexican apart.
So who fights Nunes now? Well, who knows. Holm is an easier sell than de Randamie, but does anyone really want to see that fight again? Probably not. In truth, the UFC should probably have just matched Aldana with Pena and given the winner the title fight. It would’ve been much easier that way.