UFC on ESPN 16: Holm vs. Aldana Preview

Continuing their second series of events from “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the UFC is set to provide an 11-fight card on Saturday night. Headlining the show is a ranked bantamweight fight between Irene Aldana and Holly Holm. Here’s a preview.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (7:30PM EDT / 3:30AM GST) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)

The UFC is presenting a different set of timeslots for Saturday’s show. The main card has an especially late start time of 10:30PM EDT, which starts 30 minutes later than the usual pay-per-view event, the type of event the UFC goes the latest for.

Bout 1: Jessin Ayari (16-5) vs. Luigi Vendramini (8-1) (Lightweight)

Two UFC fighters returning after extended absences from the cage will fight on the prelims when Jessin Ayari faces Luigi Vendramini. Ayari will look to snap a two-fight streak of losses, as he last fought in 2017 and 2018. Vendramini also last fought in 2018, dropping his promotional debut to Elizeu Zaleski.

Bout 2: Casey Kenney (14-2-1) vs. Alatengheili (14-7-1) (Bantamweight)

Rising bantamweights Casey Kenney and Alatengheili will fight on the prelims. Alatengheili has had two strong showings in his UFC career, although the fights have went under the radar of western viewers due to being placed on cards in Asia, often fighting early in the morning on the west. His last fight was a split decision win over Ryan Benoit in December.

Kenney’s last fight was a win over Louis Smolka, finishing him in the first round with a guillotine choke. The win saw him come back from his first loss in the UFC, which came against Merab Dvalishvili in February.

Bout 3: Loma Lookboonmee (4-2) vs. Jinh Yu Frey (9-5) (Strawweight)

Strawweights Loma Lookboonmee and Jinh Yu Frey will both look to rebound off of their first UFC loss. Lookboonmee last fought Angela Hill, not being favoured on the scorecards after three rounds. She won her UFC debut in the fight before, defeating Aleksandra Albu in a split decision.

Frey, a former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion, made her UFC debut last June. Despite a strong start in her fight, Frey got caught in the third round by a triangle armbar from Kay Hansen which finished the fight.

Bout 4: Jordan Williams (9-3) vs. Nassourdine Imavov (8-2) (Middleweight)

A double UFC debut will come on the prelims when Jordan Williams faces Nassourdine Imavov. Williams got into the UFC in September, stopping Gregory Rodrigues on TV series “Dana White’s Contender Series” to be offered a UFC contract. He had previously come up short twice in previous seasons of the show.

Imavov enters the promotion on an impressive five-fight run of wins from 2017 to 2019.

Bout 5: Joshua Culibao (8-1) vs. Charles Jourdain (10-3) (Featherweight)

Featherweights Joshua Culibao and Charles Jourdain will try to get back into the win column on the prelims. Culibao had an unsuccessful UFC debut last February, being stopped with strikes by Jalin Turner in the second round. Prior to the debut, Culibao had eight-straight wins.

Jourdain lost his last fight via split decision, dropping the fight to Andre Fili in June. Prior to then, Jourdain had a win over Doo Ho Choi in December.

Bout 6: Carlos Condit (30-13) vs. Court McGee (19-9) (Welterweight)

UFC and WEC veteran Carlos Condit will return on Saturday when he’s matched up against Court McGee. The fight will be the former interim UFC Welterweight Champion’s first since December of 2018.

Condit has lost his past five fights, with his last win dating back to May of 2015.

McGee will also try to break a losing streak, albeit a much shorter one of two fights from 2019. His last fight was in August of 2019, losing a decision to Sean Brady.

Bout 7: Kyler Phillips (7-1) vs. Cameron Else (10-4) (Bantamweight)

Finishing off the prelims, Kyler Phillips will fight short-notice opponent Cameron Else. Else, who will make his UFC debut, is replacing Danaabatgerel.

Else comes into the fight on a six-fight streak of wins from 2018 to 2020. His last fight ended in 90 seconds via guillotine choke.

Phillips made his UFC debut in February, winning a decision over Gabriel Silva.

Main Card (10:30PM EDT / 6:30AM GST) (ESPN / TSN 5)

Bout 8: Dequan Townsend (21-11) vs. Dusko Todorovic (9-0) (Middleweight)

The UFC debut of Dusko Todorovic against Dequan Townsend will kick off the four-fight main card. Todorovic has had a perfect undefeated nine-fight record prior to his UFC debut. He earned his contract in 2019, defeating Teddy Ash on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”

A win could be crucial for Townsend, who has lost his last three fights, and has yet to win since his UFC debut.

Bout 9: Germaine de Randamie (9-4) vs. Julianna Pena (9-3) (Bantamweight)

In her first fight back since a title shot, Germaine de Randamie will face Julianna Pena. After putting together five-straight wins, de Randamie faced Amanda Nunes last December for the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Nunes came out on top, winning on scorecards after five rounds.

Pena will return after over a year of absence from action. Her last fight was in July of 2019, defeating Nicco Montano via decision.

Bout 10: Yorgan De Castro (6-1) vs. Carlos Felipe (8-1) (Heavyweight)

Two previously undefeated fighters in Yorgan De Castro and Carlos Felipe will both try to come back from their first loss as a pro on Saturday. Felipe’s loss was his UFC debut, losing to Serghei Spivac in July via decision.

De Castro last competed in May, dropping a decision to Greg Hardy at UFC 249.

Bout 11: Holly Holm (13-5) vs. Irene Aldana (12-5) (Bantamweight)

High-ranked bantamweights Holly Holm and Irene Aldana will compete in the main event. The matchup was first scheduled for early August, although a positive COVID-19 test to Aldana forced the bout off of a card. Now it finds itself on “Fight Island.”

Holm’s current campaign sees herself try to climb back up the bantamweight rankings. She challenged for the UFC Bantamweight Championship in July of 2019, although current champ Amanda Nunes stopped her in under a round.

Holm won in her first bout back, taking Raquel Pennington to a decision at UFC 246 in January.

Aldana will try to build on her two late 2019 wins in the fight. Aldana defeated Vanessa Melo and Kelten Vieira in the final four months of the calendar year. The fight will be Aldana’s first five-round fight since 2015, where she lost an Invicta FC title shot against Tonya Evinger.

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