Irene Aldana didn’t get the finish but she may have put on her strongest performance to date since joining the UFC roster.
The top 10 ranked bantamweight battered Vanessa Melo round after round before earning a lopsided unanimous decision with 30-26 scorecards across the board as the Guadalajara, Mexico based Aldana picked up her fourth win in her past five fights.
“I’m so proud to be here. I haven’t fought here since 2013. It’s a dream come true to be here,” Aldana said following the convincing win. “I’m still searching for the top fight in the division. The last fight was a little stepping stone. The UFC knows I’m really open to whatever they choose.”
With a height and reach advantage, Aldana was content keeping Melo on the end of her punches while also peppering the Brazilian newcomer with kicks to the legs and body.
While Melo was constantly stepping forward, she was eating far more shots than she was landing with Aldana showcasing a strong, technical kickboxing attack from the outside.
As the second round got underway, Aldana continued to chip away at Melo’s foundation with stinging kicks to the lead leg and then coming back over the top with fast, accurate punches.
Aldana’s precision and volume continued to give Melo problems all fight long no matter how much she tried to find a way inside. She was even thwarted when looking for a takedown as Aldana just shrugged her off and kept firing strikes.
With five minutes remaining, Melo tried going for broke but that only seemed to give even more openings to Aldana, who took advantage of every possible opening on the feet.
Aldana was throwing everything and the kitchen sink trying to put Melo away but to her credit, the UFC rookie hung tough until the final bell.
Still there was no doubt that Aldana had won in a shutout as the Mexican crowd came unglued during the final exchange of the fight.
Aldana has proven to be a tough out for anybody in the bantamweight division while constantly putting on exciting fights. She lost a razor close split decision to Raquel Pennington in her last outing but with this win, Aldana is right back on track as she looks to continue her climb up the ladder at 135 pounds.