The UFC Fight Island 4 main event was a masterful performance by Holly Holm, who wants to get another title shot. With the type of performance she had in defeating Irene Aldana, she shouldn’t be too far off track.
Both being solid strikers, it took a while for either woman to find her groove as the fight got underway. Holm was the first to land any big shots, sticking her double-left hand on several occasions. Aldana countered on occasion, but it was Holm doing more of the damage and frequently finishing the combination with a kick.
Circling away from Aldana, Holm landed some solid side kicks to the midsection before briefly taking Aldana to the canvas. Aldana bounced back to her feet, but Holm stayed on her and took her down a second time before the round ended.
Aldana opened with a solid kick and a right hand counter in round two, but Holm continued her combinations, which kept Aldana on the defensive and at a deficit.
Aldana started to look a bit bewildered by the middle of the second frame. Holm kept circling away and then diving in with her blistering punch combinations and sticking her with the sidekick.
Late in the round, Holm threw a jumping punch to set up a clinch and took Aldana to the canvas again. Holm couldn’t pass guard, so she dropped a few punches on Aldana before returning the fight to standing. She then continued blistering Aldana with combinations and that nasty sidekick.
Holm got going quickly in the third frame, continuing to pepper Aldana with punch combinations and sidekicks. But Aldana finally started to move forward more and attack. Just as she seemed to gain some momentum, Holm clinched and tripped her to the floor.
Working from side control, Holm moved to full mount. Aldana tried to buck her off, but Holm postured up and dropped numerous punches and elbows. Aldana finally knocked her from mount, but Holm hit her a few more times before the fight returned to the feet.
It was an important moment for Aldana to survive that horrible position on the ground, but it wasn’t enough to turn the fight around. She used to it to continue pressing forward when they returned to their feet, but she still had trouble getting through to the former champion to do any damage.
Knowing she needed to do something to change the trajectory of the fight, Aldana kept pressing forward in round four, but Holm stuck her with the jab… and then the sidekick… and then the right hand.
Every time Aldana pressed and landed a solid punch, she ate two, three, four strikes from Holm.
Aldana moved forward again, and again Holm took her to the canvas. They didn’t stay there long, but it was obvious Holm was bringing the fight back to where she wanted it. That being where she could continue sticking Aldana with punches and kicks, simply outgunning her.
Though Holm’s nose trickled blood as the final frame started, she kept up her frenetic pace, sliding away from Aldana and then popping her with the jab and sidekick. Aldana kept chasing, kept trying to land something, anything, but she couldn’t manage Holm’s pace and output.
Holm kept sticking her and landed another takedown with about a minute left in the fight. Aldana scrambled to her feet, but ate a kick to the face as she regained her footing. Holm smelled blood and caught Aldana with several more punches, yelling as she attacked, blitzing Aldana until the final horn.
Though she looked as sharp as ever in victory, Holm insisted she still has much to learn and declined to call out her next opponent.
“There’s some things I need to learn obviously, but I always like to say I like to learn from my wins, not from my losses,” Holm said in the center of the Octagon.
“When I came over the MMA, I didn’t come to be a boxer in an Octagon. I came to be a mixed martial artist and it’s taken time. I didn’t start any grappling until like four weeks before my first fight in MMA. So I’m still very green and still learning. So I just want to put it all together.”
Carlos Felipe takes the nod in a slugfest that doesn't quite deliver
Carlos Felipe had been gunning for a knockout, but had to settle for a decision victory over Yorgan de Castro in the night’s co-main event.
de Castro began by chopping away at Felipe’s lead leg. Felipe was swinging for the fences, but eventually settled in and landed some leg kicks of his own, which then set up his hands to greater affect. de Castro stuck to his leg attack, but Felipe landed some big punch combinations before the round came to a close.
Round two started with a strong de Castro punch combination, but Felipe stormed back with a blistering right hand to the head followed by a solid body shot.
Moving to the center of the Octagon, both men opened up with their punches, crushing each other with big punches, but neither backing down. de Castro clinched and pressed Felipe to the fence, but had the position taken away for grabbing the fence.
Battling in the center of the cage, Felipe did a good job mixing body work into his punch combinations instead of simply swinging for de Castro’s head.
de Castro continued his kicking attack, but got put on the fence. Felipe, similar to de Castro earlier in the round, lost the advantage after the referee separated them because he had his fingers in the cage.
Felipe opened the final frame with a blitz of punches, looking to overwhelm his opponent, but somehow de Castro weathered the storm.
He put Felipe on the fence multiple times, but didn’t remain busy enough and was consistently restarted in the center of the cage by the referee. But Felipe could do little to stop the clinch, as time ran out without either man able to finish the fight.
Felipe could do little in the final frame, but the judges saw fit to award him for his aggression. He earned a unanimous nod to get his first victory in the Octagon.
Germaine de Randamie more than a striker, as she submits Julianna Pena
In another pivotal bantamweight bout, Germaine de Randamie submitted Julianna Pena, proving that she is a more complete fighter than her 10-time Muay Thai world champion credentials might suggest.
de Randamie landed a right hand that sent Pena to the canvas early in round one. Pena got up quickly, but was on wobbly legs as she tried to fight her way out of trouble. de Randamie, however, kept picking her apart with a stiff jab that kept setting up the right hand.
Pena caught a de Randamie kick late in the round, but it took her until the final couple of seconds to land the takedown, leaving her with no time to do any damage.
Pena stormed de Randamie in round two, quickly landing a huge left hand. She then clinched and pressed de Randamie into the fence. Unlike round one, Pena tripped de Randamie to the canvas with plenty of time on the clock in the second frame.
From inside de Randamie’s guard, Pena softened her up with punches and hammerfists before passing to side control and nearly landing a choke. de Randamie reversed to top position where she secured a Von Flue choke, but couldn’t finish it before the horn.
Pena again blitzed de Randamie, landing a head kick and some heavy punches that wobbled her opponent. de Randamie used her striking prowess to get back in the fight, but Pena again pressed her to the fence. Pena changed levels to shoot a double-leg takedown, but got caught in a tight guillotine choke that quickly put out the lights.
Widely know for her striking, de Randamie said before the fight that she wanted to become more of a complete MMA fighter. She definitely showed strides in that direction with the submission of Pena, who was widely regarded as the better grappler in the pairing.
“I'm still the number one. It doesn't matter what happens tonight (in the Holm vs. Aldana fight), that winner has to face me before they face Amanda Nunes. I’m the No. 1 contender,” de Randamie said following the victory.
“Let Amanda Nunes enjoy her family. You’ve got to face me.”
Carlos Condit defeats Court McGee, snaps five-year, five-fight skid
It took Carlos Condit more than five years, but he finally got back in the win column at UFC Fight Island 4. The former interim UFC welterweight champion beat Court McGee to the punch throughout their featured preliminary bout, earning a unanimous nod from the judges.
Condit’s previous most recent victory was a TKO stoppage of Thiago Alves in May of 2015.
“I love this. I love what I do, win or lose. I’m a competitor. I come here to show up and get my hand raised,” Condit said after the fight.
“It’s been a while since I’ve got my hand raised. It feels amazing.”
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UFC Fight Island 4: Holm vs. Aldana results
UFC Fight Island 4 Main Card (10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+)
Holly Holm def. Irene Aldana by unanimous decision (50-44, 50-45, 50-45)Carlos Felipe def. Yorgan De Castro by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)Germaine de Randamie def. Julianna Pena by technical submission (guillotine choke) at 3:25, R3Kyler Phillips def. Cameron Else by TKO (punches and elbows) at 0:44, R2Dusko Todorovic def. Dequan Townsend by TKO (punches) at 3:15, R2
UFC Fight Island 4 Preliminary Card (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
Carlos Condit def. Court McGee by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)Charles Jourdain vs. Joshua Culibao rules a split draw (30-27, 28-29, 28-28)Nassourdine Imavov def. Jordan Williams by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)Loma Lookboonmee def. Jinh Yu Frey by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)Casey Kenney def. Alateng Heili by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-27)Luigi Vendramini def. Jessin Ayari by TKO (head kick and punches) at 1:12, R1