MMA

UFC 264: Yana Kunitskaya vs Irene Aldana Picks, Odds, Predictions

Irene Aldana vs Yana Kunitskaya
July 10, 2021 11:15 pm EDT
The Line: Yana Kunitskaya -104 / Irene Aldana -116
(Click here for latest betting odds)

Irene Aldana and Yana Kunitskaya fight Saturday in UFC 264 at the T-Mobile Arena. Aldana enters this fight with a 12-6 record and has won 50 percent of her fights by knockout. Kunitskaya enters this fight with a 14-5 record and has won 50 percent of her fights by knockout.

Aldana has won seven of her last 11 fights and is coming off an October loss to Holly Holm. Aldana is averaging 5.52 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 38 percent. Aldana is averaging 0.23 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Aldana is coming off a decision loss at UFC Fight Island 4 where she landed 92 total strikes but ate 187 total strikes. Aldana’s last four losses have been decisions, and she hopes to avoid back-to-back losses for the second time in her career. Aldana comes from a boxing background and her work rate is unmatched, as she walks down her opponent with constant combinations and isn’t afraid to trade in the pocket. Despite her loss in her last bout, Aldana landed some shots and stood in there despite eating some big blows. Aldana puts together some clean combinations with overhands, uppercuts and has a vicious ground and pound. Aldana also mixes in hard knees in the clinch, and while she hasn’t shown much ground game in the UFC, she does have three submission victories in her career, two coming via rear-naked choke. This will be Aldana’s fourth career fight in Nevada.

Kunitskaya has won four of her last five fights and is coming off a February win over Ketlen Vieira. Kunitskaya is averaging 4.22 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 57 percent. Kunitskaya is averaging 1.62 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 53 percent. Kunitskaya is coming off a decision win at UFC Vegas 19 where she landed 215 total strikes and ate just 35 shots. Kunitskaya is now 6-1 in career decisions and has won each of her last six decisions. Kunitskaya is a 31-year-old Russian who has a background in taekwondo and boxing, and she’s made a living with her striking and knockout pop. Kunitskaya has produced knockouts in six of her last 12 victories and does some of her best work on her feet and in the clinch. Kunitskaya has had great success with her takedowns and her scrambling and wrestling has certainly improved. However, Kunitskaya could be sharper with her takedown defense. This will be Kunitskaya’s fifth career fight in Nevada.

Who did our Experts Pick?
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Aldana is a tough fighter who is going to bring the fight to her opponent and give herself a chance to win. However, Kunitskaya is the more balanced fighter of the two, has more pop in her strikes and has a more proven ground game. Aldana does have impressive takedown defense, but Kunitskaya has to like her chances no matter where this fight ends up. Kunitskaya is the cleaner striker and will have chances to end this fight on the feet. This line is kind of surprising to me if we’re being honest.

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Randy Chambers's Free Pick:
Yana Kunitskaya -104
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Randy Chambers

Randy has covered sports betting since 2014 and writes about everything from NFL to WNBA.

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