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UFC 264 results: Irene Aldana drops Yana Kunitskaya, finishes with vicious ground and pound in first round

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UFC Fight Night Holm v Aldana Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Following a tough loss to former champion Holly Holm in her last fight, Irene Aldana returned with a flawless performance to stop Yana Kunitskaia in the first round at UFC 264.

Sharp as ever on the feet, Aldana was blasting Kunitskaya with punches from the opening exchanges and it was a counter left hook that put the Russian bantamweight down on the canvas. From there, Aldana was relentless with her ground and pound as she continued hammering away at Kunitskaya until referee Jason Herzog had no choice but to stop the fight.

The end came at 4:35 in the first round.

“First of all, I want to apologize to her and her team for the weight issue,” Aldana said after she missed weight on Friday. “We had some troubles. I’m so glad that she took the fight. We’re just enjoying all the hard work. We worked so hard in every area. Step by step, I don’t want to rush things. I’m always chasing the belt.”

Kunitskaya was attacking early and often but it was Aldana who busted her nose open with a punch in the opening round that had blood pouring down her face. Despite the damage done, Kunitskaya was still trying to come after Aldana with constant pressure while throwing a variety of striking combinations.

That backfired after Aldana cracked Kunitskaya with a staggering left hook that put the former Invicta FC champion down on the canvas.

Aldana followed her to the ground where she unleashed a barrage of punches that left Kunitskaya unable to defend herself, which obviously then led to the TKO stoppage.

While missing weight was obviously not ideal, Aldana still put on an incredible showing as she moves to 3-1 in her past four fights and remains a constant threat in the bantamweight division.