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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Irene Aldana after loss to Holly Holm at UFC Fight Island 4?

UFC Fight Night Holm v Aldana Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC Fight Island 4 blew the roof off Flash Forum Arena last Sat. night (Oct. 3, 2020) on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Plenty of fighters were left feeling the blues including Julianna Pena, who was put to sleep by Germaine de Randamie thanks to a slick guillotine choke (see it again here). And Court McGee, who not only lost to Carlos Condit, but had his nose rearranged at the hands of “The Natural Born Killer” (pic here).

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Irene Aldana.

Coming into her headlining bout against Holly Holm, Aldana had a lot riding on her first-ever UFC main event. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White had previously stated that a title fight against dual-division champion Amanda Nunes was on deck for the Mexican-born fighter if she managed to pull off a win. While some may call statements like that pressure or distractions, others see it as added motivation going into a fight.

Unfortunately for Aldana, her quest for gold will have to wait a bit longer after she was completely shut out by “The Preacher’s Daughter.” For five rounds, Holm imposed her will on her foe, ramping up the pressure as each minute went by. With her confidence building after every round, Holm managed to pretty much have her way with Aldana, who failed to make the proper adjustments throughout the 25-minute fight.

And Aldana couldn’t count on her grappling to save her either since Holm won that area of the fight too, leaving Aldana looking bewildered once that was taken away from her. In the end, Holm scored a dominant unanimous decision win, giving Aldana her second loss in last four outings.

“First of all I want to apologize to my corner because we had a very specific fight plan that I could not execute,” Aldana wrote on Instagram. “I felt that something was wrong with my left foot; it wasn’t responding since the beginning of the fight. No excuses, I still know that I faced the best version of Holly, and I congratulate her for winning.”

“I am proud to know that I am competing with the best in the world. This is how this is. This is how sport is: We win, we lose. But as I’ve always shown, the only thing that’s next for me is to train harder, improve and come back stronger than ever.”

It's a tough loss for Aldana because the climb back up will be a long and grueling one. Because as we’ve seen in the past, if you’re last name isn’t Holm, Namajunas or Jedrzejczyk, chances to get back to a title eliminator or championship fight don’t come around too often.

Still, Aldana has time to improve her overall game to eventually make another run to the top, and a fight against Julianna Pena next makes sense. “Venezuelan Vixen” also came up short on “Fight Island” as we previously mentioned, so what better than to book these two ladies to fight one another?

They are separated by a couple spots on the official UFC rankings and since they both competed on the same card, a similar turnaround time is expected. A win is of the utmost importance for both ladies, so the pressure and/or motivation to get back on track will be present and give each combatant that extra boost to get the job done.

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