UFC 289 Predictions

Below you’ll find our predictions for this weekend’s UFC 289 event in Vancouver, Canada.

Main Card

Amanda Nunes vs. Irene Aldana

Nunes won back the bantamweight belt in her last fight to reclaim her double-champ status and now faces Aldana, who has impressed with her knockout ability in her last three wins.

Nunes reputation took a hit when she shockingly succumbed to Julianna Pena’s tough and unrelenting yet ultimately crude striking approach back in December of 2021, but she has since shaken off that poor performance by avenging that loss and her overall fighting record speaks for itself, having defeated a who’s who of female MMA talent over the years.

Perhaps some of Nunes hunger and killer instinct has eroded at 35-years-of-age after having already accomplished so much in the sport and now having a family too, but she still remains an elite striker with fast, powerful and highly technical ability, and on top of that she’s also a good wrestler with strong submission ability too.

It’s that well-rounded nature of her skill-set that will be of most concern to the also 35-year-old Aldana, who lacks Nunes speed on the feet, but is nonetheless an assured striker with fight-ending power.  However, the Mexican is less convincing on the mat and was taken down and controlled for significant spells against Macy Chiasson last time out before leaving it late to turn things around completely with an upkick KO.

With that in mind I do expect Nunes to look to utilize the full extent of her MMA skills here to look for takedown opportunities, and with her predatory instincts on the mat I think it’ll then only be a matter of time before she secures a submission finish.

Pick: Amanda Nunes wins by submission in R2.

Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush

Oliveira lost his lightweight belt and 11-fight winning streak to Islam Makhachev last time out and now faces the in-form Dariush, who is on an 8-fight unbeaten run in this potential title-eliminator match-up.

This fight promises to be a thrilling clash of styles with both fighters being dangerous anywhere the action goes. On the feet Oliveira is a dynamic and creative striker who is always in pursuit of a finish and can do so in a variety of different ways.  His offensively-minded approach can leave openings for his opponents though and he has been stopped by strikes before, and has been hurt, while during his long winning streak he showed a lot of heart to fight through being rocked in multiple fights.

Dariush is less of a flashy striker, but he’s done well to go from being someone who appeared to be somewhat vulnerable on the feet due to a questionable chin to someone who is now respected for his own ability to end fights with his heavy-handed knockout power, which is backed up by solid kicks and careful defense.

The ground battle here could be particularly fascinating as Oliveira is a submission phenom who holds the record for the most tapouts in UFC history (16). He loves to scramble and constantly pursues submission opportunities, chaining them together skilfully where necessary to overwhelm his opponents.  However, Dariush is also skilled on the mat as well and is more composed and methodical than his opponent, showing good technique and smooth transitions while also being a better wrestler than the Brazilian ace.

This is a very close fight that could go either way on the feet or on the ground and I’m having a hard time picking a winner, but I’ll go with Dariush by a slight margin because I think his more cool, calm and collected approach can help him capitalize on Oliveira’s mistakes in the heat of the battle, which will help to hurt him on the feet and then finish by submission in the 2nd round.

Pick: Beneil Dariush wins by submission in Rd2.

Mike Malott vs. Adam Fugitt

A bit of a surprising pick for the main card here, but Malott is a Canadian fighter who comes in off back-to-back victories since joining from the Contender Series, while Fugitt has gone 1-1 in the UFC so far.

A former striking coach for Team Alpha Male, the 31-year-old Malott drifted away from competing for a time between 2017-2020, but has since returned to action and found his way to the UFC, where he’s made a good start so far.

He’s a good athlete with a solidly rounded skillset, with good kickboxing ability alongside respectable wrestling and submissions.  So far all nine of his career victories have come inside the distance either on the feet or on the mat, with the vast majority of those coming in the first round, though that may prove harder to maintain as his level of competition rises.

Fugitt is also versatile and can strike and wrestle. He has strong kicks to go alongside his punches and has a high output, but his defense isn’t the best and so he gets hit often and was stopped by strikes in his first UFC fight last year.

I think Malott has a slight advantage in a few areas in this fight and with the support of the Canadian fans I’ll pick him to win by submission in the first round.

Pick: Mike Malott to win by submission in Rd1.

Dan Ige vs. Nate Landwehr

Landwehr is riding a wave of momentum with three consecutive victories, while Ige broke his own three-fight losing slump with a knockout of Damon Jackson in his last fight.

Ige faced some of the best fighters in the division during his three losses, and commendably still managed to take ‘The Korean Zombie’, Josh Emmett and Movsar Evloev to the scorecards. He is a crisp boxer who works well to the head and body, while he also has a solid ground game, a durable chin and has never been stopped in his 22-fight career.

Landwehr is an entertaining fighter who has won fans with his gutsy, all-action style that’ll see him throw high-volume offense with little regard for his own safety.  he’ll try to outpace and out-grit his opponents, while he can also wrestle and has shown his submission abilities in two of his last three wins.

I think Ige can handle his opponent’s aggression and intensity without being overawed and his more refined and accurate striking will exploit Landwehr’s defensive flaws to secure a 2nd round TKO finish.

Pick: Dan Ige wins by TKO in Rd2.

Eryk Anders vs. Marc-Andre Barriault

Anders ended his two-fight losing run with a TKO victory over Kyle Daukaus in his last fight and now faces Barriault, who also scored a TKO win against Julian Marquez in March.

The 36-year-old Anders is a former promising linebacker, who has never appeared to fully harness his athletic potential in the UFC, having gone 7-7 (+1nc) so far.

The physically strong Anders is a capable striker with good power, but he tends to be overly conservative with his output and struggles to shift up the gears, while he is durable but gets hit more than he should. He has shown some potential in wrestling and grappling without ever fully exploiting it.

Barriault isn’t the most athletic, but he is a hard worker who will push the pace on the feet with his high volume, power, and solid stamina.

Both fighters are hard to finish so this fight could go the distance and I think Barriault’s pressure and output will give him the edge on the judges’ scorecards.

Pick: Marc-Andre Barriault to win by decision.

Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)

Nassourdine Imavov vs. Chris Curtis
Miranda Maverick vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius
Kyle Nelson vs. Blake Bilder
Aiemann Zahabi vs. Aori Qileng
Diana Belbita vs. Maria Oliveira
David Dvorak vs. Stephen Erceg

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously FightOfTheNight.com) in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.