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Irene Aldana could have positioned herself as a top contender in the UFC women’s bantamweight division with a victory over Holly Holm on Saturday night.
Instead, the Lobo Gym MMA representative faltered at UFC on ESPN 16, losing a clear-cut unanimous verdict to Holm at Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi. The former bantamweight queen kept Aldana off balance with movement, punching flurries, a variety of kicks and timely takedowns over the course of a frustrating 25 minutes.
Aldana reacted to the setback in a recent post on her Instagram account.
“Today things didn’t go my way,” she wrote. “First of all I want to apologize to my corner because we had a very specific fight plan that I could not execute. 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. Thanks to all the people who have shown me their support in good and bad times. Thanks to my sponsors for their incredible support always! Ready for what’s next.”
Aldana had won five of her previous six promotional outings heading into UFC on ESPN 16 — including a first-round knockout of Ketlen Vieira this past December.