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Morning Report: Henry Cejudo ‘can see’ Irene Aldana knocking out Amanda Nunes at UFC 289, predicts upset

Irene Aldana | Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

2023 has been quite the year for Mexicans in MMA.

Once all is said and done this Saturday night at UFC 289, Mexico could be home to four UFC titles. The year opened with the country reclaiming gold in the men's flyweight division when former champion Brandon Moreno put his rivalry with Deiveson Figueiredo to bed, earning a third-round TKO in the pair's tetralogy. A few weeks later, Yair Rodriguez obtained the interim featherweight strap with a sensational second-round triangle choke against Josh Emmett. One month after that, the largest win of them all came at women's flyweight when Alexa Grasso upset Valentina Shevchenko with a fourth-round rear-naked choke.

Irene Aldana now gets her opportunity to replicate a win that would be on par with her longtime teammate Grasso's. Standing in Aldana's way of her dream is arguably the best female fighter of all time and current champion at both women's bantamweight and featherweight, Amanda Nunes. Thanks to Mexico's incredible momentum in 2023, former two-division champion Henry Cejudo sees the stars aligning for Aldana to keep the trend alive.

"This fight could be up for grabs but I'm gonna have to go with none other than the Mexican cat," Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. "There's something about that fight that I just feel the simple fact that if Amanda Nunes cannot take down Irene Aldana, that Mexican training having Brandon [Moreno], Alexa Grasso, Yair Rodriguez, all these Mexicans with belts, it just lets you know that training's not stopping. I do feel like sometimes I've seen a little bit of slowdown from Amanda Nunes. I just don't see a lot of the kicking - if Amanda Nunes is able to get the grappling, I can see her maybe getting that victory. But, man, I can see Irene Aldana actually knocking her out, I really can."

Aldana has been a consummate finisher throughout her 20-fight career, finishing eight of her 14 victories by knockout and three by submission. It's no secret what Aldana and her fellow Lobo Gym stablemates are good at and that's their crisp and lethal boxing. To earn her first UFC title bout, Aldana scored highlight-reel knockouts over Yana Santos and Macy Chiasson.

Cejudo sees Aldana's blend of powerful punches and confidence as a deadly combo for the legendary Brazilian. It's just a matter of putting it all together on fight night.

"There's one thing, her and Alexa Grasso, they have heavy hands," Cejudo said. "They have heavy striking. If Amanda Nunes doesn't bring that tactical sense and that experience then either kicks her or takes her down, she's gonna be in trouble with this Mexican. She's super, super confident.

"It reminds me a lot of the fight when Alexa was getting ready for Valentina. She says, ‘I will get my hand raised.' Same kind of thing, that same type of energy. The most important thing in this is confidence. So, for that reason, Brazil, don't hate me, don't kill me. If I had to place my money, and I like ‘em both, there's no hard feelings for either one of ‘em, I'm gonna have to go with Irene Aldana on this one."

TOP STORIES

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Picks. ‘It's a very tough fight': Brazilian stars break down Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush at UFC 289

VIDEO STEW

MMA Fighting's Jed Meshew chats with Deontay Wilder.

Between the Links.

UFC 289 Pre-Fight Presser staredowns.

UFC 289 Pre-Fight Presser highlight.

Embedded 4.

Old school Aldana.

Bellator 297 trailer.

Sergio's Bellator debut.

Bellator's best from Brazil.

Full fight.

Grading Oliveira's striking.

Chandler recaps TUF 31 Ep. 2.

LISTEN UP

Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting's Mike Heck discusses if it's do-or-die for Beneil Dariush's title hopes at UFC 289.

MORNING MUSIC

SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Corner cam.

Mamed Khalidov's corner team react to his incredible win in the main event of XTB #KSWColosseum2! pic.twitter.com/Q2BMwwjI0l

- KSW (@KSW_MMA) June 8, 2023

Don't piss off Rodney Tang.

Do not make Rodtang angry What would YOU do if you made this mistake? #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship pic.twitter.com/3wjKQARB6R

- ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) June 8, 2023

Debate.

I think he has an absurd resume.
Yes he does deserve it. https://t.co/cnucFGKKuS

- #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) June 8, 2023

Welcome.

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A post shared by lionsgym (@lionsgym)

Pitbull.



Will #P4P king @PatricioPitbull certify his legacy by beating bantamweight champ @sergiopettis in Chicago? #Bellator297 | Fri, June 16th | @SHOsports pic.twitter.com/xK5MGi4Rdl

- Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) June 8, 2023

Support.

If Jim Miller's stats don't get him in the UFC Hall of Fame, this fight will. pic.twitter.com/Bon1t4R7FZ

- Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) June 8, 2023

Fits.

Champ and challenger - face to face!@Amanda_Leoa and @IreneAldana_ have arrived for the #UFC289 press conference pic.twitter.com/Ws6WSjykhv

- UFC (@ufc) June 8, 2023

#UFC289 pic.twitter.com/7IykT3JD6T

- UFC (@ufc) June 9, 2023

Better late than never.

Dang, who is cutting onions in the arena. Thank You Marlon! #PFLRegularSeason LIVE NOW
ESPN+
https://t.co/jPNvomD5xg pic.twitter.com/TwNpeaJ2Bt

- PFL (@PFLMMA) June 9, 2023

Dan?

When you've left the house and realize the oven is still onpic.twitter.com/iTij0yz6Kw

- Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) June 9, 2023

Aging is real.

I'm starting to get gray hairs too, don't worry Brother @beneildariush https://t.co/6sJjmpbTsW

- #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) June 9, 2023

Timewarp.

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Peace.

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A post shared by 浜﨑朱加 Ayaka Hamasaki (@ayaka0331)

Puss and Boots.

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Dojo approves.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Bruna Brasil (8-3-1) vs. Shauna Bannon (5-0); UFC London, July 22

Maryna Moroz (11-4) vs. Karine Silva (16-4); UFC 292, Aug. 19

Viviane Araujo (11-5) vs. Casey O'Neill (9-1); UFC 293, Sept. 9

FINAL THOUGHTS

I've begun feeling a similar and stronger way to what Cejudo is saying. If Aldana can avoid being held down - a major concern when looking at past matchups - she's going to crack Nunes at some point. Looking forward to it.

Happy Friday, gang. Enjoy the weekend and thanks as always for reading!

EXIT POLL

If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Morning Report: Henry Cejudo can see Irene Aldana knocking out Amanda Nunes at UFC 289, predicts upset originally appeared on NBC Sports