According to a report from ESPN Deportes, which was later confirmed by MMAJunkie, a bantamweight bout between Irene Aldana and former featherweight title challenger Yana Kunitskaya has been added to UFC 264 on July 10.
The 33-year-old Aldana, who’s currently ranked No. 4 at 135 pounds, fought four times in 2019, going 3-1. She closed out the year with back-to-back victories over Vanessa Melo and Ketlen Viera. She only fought once in 2020, however, losing a one-sided decision to former bantamweight titleholder Holly Holm last October.
Following the loss to Holm, Aldana, a native of Mexico, had foot surgery, which has kept her on the sidelines in recent months.
Kunitskaya, meanwhile, made her UFC debut in 2018 when she agreed to fight then 145-pound champion Cris Cyborg. She was ultimately stopped by Cyborg in the first round, but she returned to bantamweight following the bout and has since gone 4-1.
Currently ranked No. 5 at 135 pounds, the 31-year-old Kunitskaya scored back-to-back wins over Lina Lansberg and Marion Reneau before suffering a TKO loss to Aspen Ladd in 2019. Since that loss, she has won two straight fights over Julija Stoliarenko and Viera.
In a relatively shallow bantamweight division, the winner of Aldana vs. Kunitskaya would move one step closer towards earning a title shot against dominant two-division champion Amanda Nunes.
UFC 264 is set to take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will mark the first UFC event to take place in the city with a full capacity crowd since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The current lineup for the card, which will be headlined by the trilogy match between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, can be seen below.
- Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor
- Gilbert Burns vs. Stephen Thompson
- Jessica Eye vs. Jennifer Maia
- Ryan Hall vs. Ilia Topuria
- Omari Akhmedov vs. Brad Tavares
- Jerome Rivera vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
- Greg Hardy vs. Tai Tuivasa
- Dricus Du Plessis vs. Trevin Giles
- Sean O’Malley vs. Louis Smolka
- Irene Aldana vs. Yana Kunitskaya
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.