Reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes has a new challenger for her upcoming title defense at UFC 289.
Originally, “The Lioness” was due to face Julianna Pena in a bantamweight title trilogy bout in Vancouver, Canada on Saturday, June 10. But an injury in training has ruled “The Venezuelan Vixen” out of action and unable to compete.
It didn’t take the UFC long to find a suitable replacement, with No 5-ranked Mexican contender Irene Aldana signed and sealed to replace Pena in the main event at the Rogers Arena.
UFC president Dana White announced the main event change in a social media video post, laying out the reason behind the switch.
“Julianna Pena was taking on Amanda Nunes, June 10 in Vancouver. Unfortunately, she broke her ribs. She cannot compete,” he said.
“We have Irene Aldana who’s coming in, who won four of her last five, and three of those were finishes. We could have another Mexican world champion. Ladies and gentlemen, Saturday, June 10, Vancouver, Canada, Nunes vs. Aldana.”
Aldana’s only losses in the UFC have come on the scorecards, with her only defeat since the summer of 2019 coming against former champion Holly Holm in October 2020.
She’s won four of her last five, with those wins coming against Vanessa Melo, Ketlen Vieira, Yana Santos and Macy Chiasson, with the latter trio all coming via KO/TKO.
Now the 35-year-old from Guadalajara will challenge Nunes for the 135-pound title.
Also announced as part of the same social media video was the withdrawal of Bryce Mitchell from the UFC 288 event on May 6.
According to White, Mitchell sustained a back injury that forced him out of his bout with Movsar Evloev. Promotional newcomer Diego Lopes has agreed to step in on short notice to face Evloev in Newark.