Irene Aldana Aims To Continue Mexico’s Big 2023 In UFC


Currently ranked fifth at 135 pounds, Aldana holds a 14-6 record over the past seven years, most recently defeating Macy Chiasson by knockout at UFC 279 in September 2022. Aldana’s victory came in the form of an upkick to the body, only the third such KO in UFC history, and the only one targeted at the body.

Aldana deals more damage via striking attacks than nearly any fighter in UFC history. She connects with 5.61 significant strikes per minute, the fourth highest rate in bantamweight history. Aldana also ranks third all-time in takedown defense and fourth all-time in women’s bantamweight history in strike defense at 61%.

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Winning this fight and earning Mexico’s fourth championship of the year will be no easy task for Aldana, as Nunes looks to build on her legacy and continue her reign atop the division.

Nunes, the most decorated fighter in women’s UFC history, holds the records for most wins at 15 and for most title fight wins at 10. Aldana understands the magnitude of this challenge, and she believes that she will rise to the occasion.

“I’m honored to share the Octagon with her,” Aldana said of her matchup with Nunes. “But, at this point, I feel very happy that it came at this time, because I feel so ready for that. I’m just enjoying the moment. I’m happy with the pressure.”

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Middleweight veterans and recent title challengers cross paths on the road back to the top of the division here.

Vettori started his UFC career going 2-2-1 in his first five fights, but is 7-2 since, with his losses coming to Israel Adesanya in a championship bout at UFC 263 and Robert Whittaker last fall in Paris. “The Italian Dream” cemented his standing as a top contender in the division with a unanimous decision win over Roman Dolidize in March at UFC 286 and will look to build on that effort when he jumps in with Cannonier.

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Just like his dance partner on June 17, Cannonier has only lost to Whittaker and Adesanya since moving to middleweight, bouncing back from his setback against the current champ with a split decision win over Sean Strickland in the final UFC fight of 2022. He has big power but can get a little too patient and methodical at times, but the aggressiveness of his Italian counterpart should force him to let loose a little more, or risk being run over.

At the moment, the title picture in the middleweight division is a little blurry, as Adesanya reclaimed the throne in April and has already vanquished several of the top contenders. The winner of this one will lock themselves into a place in the Top 5, but what comes next could hinge on how things play out here.

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Johnny Muñoz Is Ready To Release The Anger


“I like to call it controlled anger, controlled chaos, because you never want to go into a fight emotional because I feel that could be your downfall, but you need to be able to control it; whatever it is that helps you, it needs to be controlled,” Muñoz said. “I feel for this fight, it’s like controlled anger. I like to consider myself a smart fighter and a strategic one. I’m using that to help me thrive in this fight and we’re going to see that on Saturday.”

The 30-year-old bantamweight is looking to build off his unanimous decision victory last November against Liudvik Sholinian. Prior to that win, he had gone 1-2 in the Octagon, securing his first UFC victory against Jamey Simmons at UFC 265. His opponent, Santos, just earned his first victory inside the Octagon last October with a knockout victory over John Castenada.

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Even though Muñoz is coming into the fight with some anger, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect Santos. He understands that everyone that makes it to the UFC is the best of the best, making it to the highest level of mixed martial arts. At the same time, he has confidence in his game and his abilities heading into the matchup.

“I think the main thing is going to be control and distance,” Muñoz said. “I feel like I’m going to outclass him by controlling him. He’s like a bull; very aggressive, comes forward. I feel like I’m like the matador and I’m just going to control the fight, dictate where it goes and put the bull back in the cage.”

Karine Silva: One Bump After Another


In 2021, Silva made a splash on Dana White’s Contender Series with an impressive second-round submission victory over Yan Qihui, earning Silva a UFC contract. Silva made her debut eight months later against Poliana Botelho at UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Rozenstruik.

Botelho, with seven UFC fights to her name ahead of that fight, was already established in the UFC and fought the likes of Cynthia Calvillo and Gillian Robertson. But after a dominant performance on DWCS, Silva entered the bout as the favorite and delivered in spectacular fashion.

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After four minutes of a feeling out process, Silva landed a powerful overhand right and followed it up with an immediate takedown. Silva went to work from there, landing hammer fists to force Botelho into a dangerous position on the mat. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, Silva jumped on a D’Arce choke, causing Botelho to tap with five seconds remaining in the round.

Despite two consecutive impressive performances, you’d expect Silva to get back in the Octagon quickly to continue her rise in the flyweight division, but she was without a fight for 10 months until getting a fight scheduled with Priscila Cachoeira in April. To make matters worse, Silva’s scheduled bout was eventually cancelled, making it now a full year without competing.

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“It was one bump after another,” Silva said regarding her mixed martial arts journey. “I think for every athlete in Brazil, it’s complicated and difficult. But thank God in my journey I found my coach Juliano Ribeiro who supports me all the way, [and] my wife Tamarinha. It has been difficult, but it is possible. It’s not impossible. It’s not easy, but it’s possible and we’re here.”

Silva finally has an opportunity to get back in the Octagon this Saturday at UFC Fight Night: Kara-France vs Albazi, where Silva challenges UFC newcomer Ketlen Souza at the UFC APEX.

“It has increased my drive,” said Silva, who hasn’t competed since June 2022. “I wanted to dedicate myself even more, adjust even more positions, all the things I like to do. And it wasn’t a bad thing. It wasn’t pleasant to go through, it was an unpleasant situation for everyone, but it happened, and we have to know how to deal with it.

“We used this bad situation as fuel to get me even more excited, to train even more and improve on top of everything that we were working on. [We] made some adjustments on the strategy and here we go again.”

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Souza makes her UFC debut this weekend against Silva, so it might be the first time UFC fans watch her compete. Silva, however, has had her eyes on Souza for quite a while. Both athletes are from and have competed in Brazil, so Silva already watched and knew of Souza before they were ever scheduled to compete. This made transitioning her training camp focus from Cachoeira to Souza an easy one.

“There’s a lot of footage that we were able to find,” Silva said. “I’ve been following her for a while. She was the replacement for a belt back in Brazil. I was already following her, and it helped a lot. We tweaked a few things. Her game is also standup fighting. We trained for that so it’s all good.

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“She’s a fast girl,” Silva said of her upcoming opponent. “She has heavy hands, too, and that’s not a problem. We are very well prepared for this, and our strategy was very well set up for her game. I’m really excited for this fight.

“You can expect a more aggressive Karine. And of course, I’m going to get the win. I’m very happy to be here again, and let’s go.”

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“This is a really cool program,” said Sandhagen. “I’ve always wanted to establish a program like this for kids in Denver, and now that I’ve trained with this team today, this gives me a foundation to show how I can potentially launch one of my own. Helping these kids is not about fighting at all, it’s about fitness, health and wellness, mental health, and building inner confidence that will help you succeed in everyday life. Great stuff.”

At the conclusion of the event, the UFC Foundation made a $10,000 donation to help further the organization’s mission.

UFC’s corporate social responsibility program, #UFCInTheCommunity, strategically collaborates with partners, sponsors, and athletes to develop additional charitable programs and funding sources to help bolster and inspire the local community. For more information, please visit UFCFOUNDATION.  

Victor Altamirano Aims To Be Relentless


The 32-year-old flyweight made his way into the UFC at the beginning of 2022, and win, lose, or draw, hasn’t stopped smiling since. That’s because Altamirano is living his dream and doing so in a way that he can work toward his two major goals:

Paving the way for the future of mixed martial arts and becoming a UFC champion.

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“At the end of the day, it’s all about contribution,” Altamirano told “We are making statements. We are making wins. We are making sure that people know that when I’m on the card it’s going to be an exciting fight. It’s going to be something that riles people up, inspires and contributes to people wanting to either fight or go to fights.

“Contributing to the inspiration of the future generations begins with us, begins with right now, begins with the present. It begins with making sure we show up and show out and deliver so that those are that are watching are inspired to begin their own journey. Then we have a future. Then we have more, and it never stops.”

Speaking of never stopping, that’s exactly how you could describe the way Altamirano approaches fighting. He brings the fight 100% of the time and that’s exactly how he’s impressed thus far through three UFC bouts.

Altamirano comes into this weekend 2-1 in the Octagon, on a two-fight win streak, and he’s tasked with his biggest test to date in veteran flyweight contender Tim Elliott. Although he wasn’t Elliott’s original opponent, it was easy for Altamirano to pinpoint why the UFC matchmakers pinged him to step into the fray versus Elliott.

“I can see it was because we are both really exciting fighters,” he said. “People want to see something exciting. They want to see a fight.

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“We are making statements. We are making wins. We are making sure that people know that when I’m on the card it’s going to be an exciting fight. It’s going to be something that riles people up, inspires and contributes to people want to either fight or go to fights.”

Defeating Elliott and earning a spot in the flyweight rankings would definitely be a statement; one that would likely propel “El Magnifico” to big things in the second half of 2023.

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It would also help him get on the radar during a time when the flyweight division is set to see some significant movement in the coming months. Announcing that he’s ready for his seat at the contenders’ table is exactly the opportunity that Altamirano knows he must take advantage of.

“With a win, I think people will know me. People will say, ‘Oh, this is not just Victor who was in the prelims, this is Victor; he’s made it here. He’s part of the people who are in the line for the belt. He’s serious about this,’” he said. “Of course, that’s what I’ve been thinking, but now people will realize I’m here to stay. I’m not here to fight here and there; I’ve put my focus on my goal and my goal is the championship. This is the fight to take me there.”

Daniel Pineda Excited For „OG Fight“


If things are going well, there aren’t too many moments to exhale in a fighter’s life. It’s fight, training camp, fight, training camp, with maybe a week or two off in between for rest and recovery.

That was the mode Daniel Pineda was in following his second-round submission win over Tucker Lutz in March. It was the Texan’s first fight since June of 2021, he got a big win, big finish and a big Performance of the Night bonus check, and he got his chance to settle in and plan his daughter’s third birthday party.

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Then the phone rang. June 3. Las Vegas. Co-main event. Alex Caceres.

You know the answer to those questions.

“That’s how I’ve always been,” said Pineda. “I want to stay busy. Every three, every four months, man. Let’s go.”

Let’s go, indeed. “The Pit” has 45 pro fights over the course of his 15-year career to back up his claims, and even as the 37-year-old closes in on the big 4-0, he’s not backing down from his desire to keep strapping on the gloves and going to scrap.

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“I love fighting,” he said. “I just can’t stand cutting weight.”

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Who does? We both laugh, and yeah, 15 years is a long time to be on a diet, but Pineda is feeling just fine, even as an elder statesman of the featherweight division.

“I’m 37, but honestly, I feel like I’m in my early thirties, late twenties,” he said. “I feel good, I feel healthy.”

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And he feels like getting into a fistfight on a Saturday night every few months. That will never change.

“Oh yeah, for sure, especially if you get the outcome you want,” Pineda said. “I did this last fight at home, fighting in front of your family, all your friends, that’s the enjoyment you get. But when you got your lows, if I would’ve lost, I would’ve been on the other side; it would’ve been one of the lowest feelings. So enjoy it when you can and just keep your head up and keep going.”

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Pineda is enjoying it, especially since he got the kind of big fight he wanted in the form of Caceres. It’s a co-main event against a “name,” and it has bonus potential. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday in Las Vegas.

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“They say you want a money fight? Okay, well there you go,” said Pineda. “It’s a good guy, a good test. He’s been around, so I asked for it, and I got it. It’s a good fight. This is an OG fight. This is a fight between guys that have been through it all. I’m excited.”

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But more importantly, how does all of this affect his daughter’s birthday on Monday?

“She’s getting a better one now,” he laughs.

Weigh-In Results | UFC Fight Night: Kara-France vs Albazi


Bantamweight Bout: Daniel Santos () vs Johnny Munoz ()

Heavyweight Bout: Andrei Arlovski () vs Don’Tale Mayes ()

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Bantamweight Bout: John Castaneda () vs Muin Gafurov ()

Lightweight Bout: Jamie Mullarkey () vs Muhammad Naimov ()

MORE FIGHT NIGHT: Amir Albazi | Kai Kara-France

Women’s Strawweight Bout: Elise Reed () vs Jinh Yu Frey ()

Bantamweight Bout: Da’Mon Blackshear () vs Luan Lacerda ()

Light Heavyweight Bout: Philipe Lins () vs Max Grishin ()

Alex Caceres Has Let It All Go


“That’s what I’ve been able to do,” Caceres said. “Not trying to control everything. My body knows, my mind knows, my spirit knows; it’s only my ego trying to see it through to the end.”

Letting things happen is exactly what Caceres has been doing of late and it’s been working. He’s won six of his last seven and he’s climbed his way into the featherweight rankings. By enjoying the ride and understanding who and what he is, the 34-year-old’s stock has never been higher.

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Caceres doesn’t feel like he’s fighting when that door closes. He feels as if he’s observing himself from a third-person view. There is no thought process that he feels in control of.

It might sound strange. And Caceres tends to agree with that.

“It feels like an acid trip,” Caceres laughs. “I don’t take anything personal in there. You can cut me, you can break me down, I can be bleeding. That’s why you see me, even if I’m losing, I don’t get discouraged. I fight tooth and nail to the end because I’m not attached to the pain. I’m not attached to the deficit of points or that I’m falling behind. I’m not attached to the time limit. I’m just there being the action I am performing.”

Jim Miller Is Always Going To Bring The Fight


With spousal approval in tow, Miller approaches his 42nd fight in the Octagon at UFC Fight Night: Kara-France vs Albazi, where he will face UFC debutant Jesse Butler, who is replacing Jared Gordon (who replaced Ludovít Klein after he was forced to pull out of the bout).

The fight is a chance for Miller to bounce back from his decision defeat to Hernandez. The result was Miller’s first loss since April 2021, and surely a disappointment considering he was coming off three consecutive second-round finishes. All told, he is letting it slide off his back rather easily.

Saturday’s Full Fight Card Preview

“It still kind of cements who I am and what I do,” Miller said. “I don’t fight for the judges. I don’t fight to score points. I fight to finish the fight. I understand that the fights aren’t scored in that way, but that’s why I fell in love with this sport 20 something years ago when I first started watching. It was that aggressive style of fighting. I feel like I had a lot closer opportunities to finish the fight than he did, (but) the judges went the other way.”

Miller admitted he kind of enjoys the nervous energy that comes with fighting someone early in their UFC tenure due to the unpredictability factor.


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