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Random Land! 16 tidbits, facts and storylines | UFC 289

UFC 280: Oliveira v Makhachev Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

After a two-fight card run inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, the world’s pre-emminent mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion fiiiiiiinally returns to Canada this weekend (Sat., June 10, 2023) for UFC 289, which will take place inside Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Amanda Nunes returns to action to defend her Bantamweight belt against Mexico's Irene Aldana. While most people would say this is one the weakest PPVs in a long time, there are still some fun matches up and down the card, so before it goes down, let's check out some random storylines, tidbits and statistics ahead of showtime.

LIVE! Watch UFC 293 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Return To The Great White North

The last time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) visited Canada was about four years ago in 2019. Funny enough, it also took place in Vancouver inside Rogers Arena. Justin Gaethje knocked out Donald Cerrone in the main event (watch highlights), while Glover Teixeira defeated Nikita Krylov in the co-main event via split decision.

Main Event Switcheroo

Nunes vs. Aldana was not UFC 289’s original main event. Indeed, a trilogy fight between Nunes and Julianna Pena was supposed to headline UFC's return to Canada; however, a Venezuelan rib injury caused the promotion to go with the surging Mexican knockout artist (Thank you, MMA Gods).

How Much Does "The Lioness" Have Left?

There is no doubt that Nunes is at the back-end of her illustrious Hall of Fame career. It feels like every fight could be her last, and it's not because she is slowing down skill-wise. On the contrary, it is because she has nothing left to prove and everything to lose. As soon as she loses, fans will start discrediting everything she has done — so why go through that? She holds many records that will not be broken anytime soon and will go down as the greatest women's fighter of all time.

Make That Championship Weight

One thing to watch during UFC 289 fight week is Aldana and her cut to Bantamweight. She hasn't made championship weight, which is 135 pounds on the dot, since 2019. While she has made weight throughout her UFC career except for one time (she missed against Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 264), making championship weight is different.

Just ask “Do Bronx.”

Nevertheless, check out Aldana’s last five weights:

People's Main Event

Undoubtedly, UFC 289’s best — and most meaningful — fight is Beneil Dariush vs. Charles Oliveira. It is a ridiculously fun fight between two entertaining fighters who always look to finish. Both Lightweights have elite grappling and knockout power. The only thing missing is the fight to be five rounds; however, there is little chance it will go the full 15 minutes. There are also significant implications for UFC 289’s co-feature ...

No. 1 Contender Fight

If Daruish beats Oliveria at UFC 289, he will fight Islam Makhachev in Abu Dhabi. At UFC 289 media day, Dariush confirmed that matchmakers told him that if he wins, he would get his long-awaited (and much-deserved) title shot.

For Oliveira, he is in a tricky position. He lost the 155-pound title to Makhachev in his last time at UFC 280 in dominant fashion (watch it), and while he is a big fan favorite, a rematch makes little to no sense. If "Do Bronx" pulls off the upset and defeats Dariush, he probably needs to get another win before thinking about getting his title back.

Canada Owns ‘Do Bronx’

Canada has not been nice to the former Lightweight champion — the Brazilian is winless (0-4) when he travels north of the United States border. First, he suffered his first professional loss to Jim Miller in Montreal, Quebec, back in 2010. Next, he was knocked out by Cub Swanson in Toronto, Ontario. Then, "Do Bronx" was finished by Max Holloway in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which was his first main event. Finally, Anthony Pettis tapped him in the exact same arena (watch it).

Does Oliveira finally get a win in Canada? Tune in Saturday to find out.

Don't Doubt Danny

Dan Ige snapped the worst losing streak of his career in his last bout, knocking out Damon Jackson (watch highlights). Almost everyone was counting out Ige in that fight and he silenced them all. And the same thing happened against Gavin Tucker. Ige was coming off his second UFC loss against Calvin Katter, and everyone was hyping Tucker as the next prospect ... Ige made him pay by flatlining him in 22 seconds (watch highlights).

His fight at UFC 289 with Nate Landwehr seems very similar to these two scenarios. Landwehr's stock is at an all-time time and is one win away from a Top 15 ranking. So, don't be surprised if Ige goes out there and sparks "The Train" in Canada.

‘Ya Boy’ Has New Fight Camp

Because of some political and behind-the-scenes drama, Eryk Anders has to leave his long-time camp, Fight Ready, which is located in Arizona. Thankfully for the former college linebacker, he didn't have to travel far; in fact, his new camp is in the same state, just a few towns over. Anders is now training at The MMA Lab with John Crouch. He faces Marc-Andre Barriault.

Eric Nicksick > France

Xtreme Couture Head coach, Eric Nicksick, will look to keep his dominant run over France alive this weekend. He is perfect (2-0) against France's MMA factory head coach, Fernand Lopez. He first beat him at UFC 270 when Francis Ngannou beat Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision then just about one year later Sean Strickland defeated Nassourdine Imavov on a week's notice.

Chris Curtis will also look to beat Nassourdine Imavov at UFC 289 and put Nicksick 3-0 over Lopez.

‘AstroBoy’ Lands In UFC

Steve Erceg finally makes his Octagon debut this weekend, but it has been quite the journey of ups and downs to get here. The Australian Flyweight was supposed to compete on Contender Series in 2022; however, visa issues forced a cancelation. After sitting on the sidelines for eight months, Erceg went back to the regional scene to headline Eternal MMA 73. After a first round finish back on the regional scene, UFC signed "Astro Boy" straight up. He was scheduled to fight Clayton Carpenter last month, but it was scrapped, forcing another cancelation.

Finally, he makes his UFC debut at UFC 289, and he gets a Top 10-ranked opponent right out of the gate. He faces No. 10-seeded David Dvorak.

UFC 289’s Banger

Obviously, the co-main event would be the correct answer to what is the “Banger of the card,” but I'm not going that way. I'm picking another PPV main card bout: Mike Malott vs. Adam Fugitt.

Malott holds a 100 percent finish rate with nine first round finishes, while Fugitt has finished all of his fights except one (mostly via knockout). Is this a PPV-worthy fight? Heck no, but it is going to be ultra-violent for as long as it lasts.

Canadians in Canada

Six Canadians are on UFC 289.

Winners And Losers

Fifteen fighters are coming off wins, while seven fighters are coming off losses.


Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:

  • Two Middleweight fights
  • One Welterweight fight
  • One Lightweight fights
  • Two Featherweight fights
  • One Bantamweight fights
  • One men's Flyweight fight
  • One women's Bantamweight fight
  • One women's Flyweight fight
  • One women's Strawweight fight

Beta Dog

According to DraftKings, the "biggest" underdog at UFC 289 is Aldana at +265.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 289 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 289: “Nunes vs. Aldana” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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