UFC Fight Night results, highlights: Holly Holm dominates Irene Aldana for easy decision victory

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Anyone waiting for former UFC women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm to show up old inside the Octagon will need to find a more suitable hobby. 

Holm (14-5), just three weeks shy of her 39th birthday, looked as if she very much still belongs among the elite fighters at 135 pounds after outclassing red-hot Irene Aldana (12-6) over five rounds on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Two judges scored it 50-45 for Holm while the third had it 50-44. 

Improving to 4-5 since her 2015 upset title win over Ronda Rousey via head-kick knockout, with all five defeats coming to former or current UFC champions, Holm took a major step closer to the idea of fighting for a chance at regaining her crown. 

"There are some things that I need to work on, obviously. But I always say that I like to learn from my wins and my losses so that I'm always learning," Holm said. "[Aldana] is a mover, just like me, so I had to think of what I would have to do if I was fighting myself in there. Tonight, we were able to put the game plan together and I was victorious."  

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Despite the 32-year-old Aldana's reputation as a power puncher, which included a savage one-punch finish of Ketlen Vieira in her last outing, Holm never gave the native of Mexico a clean opening to prove it. 

By circling away from Aldana's power shots and stinging her with accurate counter shots, Holm controlled distance with relative ease. But the key difference in the fight, especially the rare times Aldana began to put short power punches together, was Holm's ability to control the action on the ground. 

Aldana entered the fight with the best takedown percentage among UFC female fighters. Holm, meanwhile, has never been known for her ground game. Yet, the former champion scored a total of five takedowns in all and proved dominant in her striking, including a flurry of punches from full mount in Round 3. 

After the fight, Holm wouldn't commit to talking about whether a title shot should be next or whom she would need to defeat to get one. Although Holm's violent 2019 loss to current champion Amanda Nunes doesn't help her chances of a rematch this quickly, the division is lacking from the standpoint of depth. 

"I need to just keep working hard," Holm said. "When I first came to MMA, they always said, 'Watch out for her boxing.' Then, when I started throwing kicks they said, 'Watch out for her kicks.' Now it's, 'Watch out for her clinch or wrestling.' I came to the cage to be a full mixed martial artist and it takes time. I didn't wrestle for the first time until four weeks before my first MMA fight. I'm still very green and learning, I just want to put it all together. 

"I like to just let the future hold out. I have a great team around me that worries about that and I just train."

Aldana bloodied Holm's nose with punches early in Round 5 but was unable to mount any level of sustained success.  

In addition to her recent loss to Nunes, Holm has fought unsuccessfully for the UFC featherweight title on two occasions in recent years, losing competitive decisions to former champions Germaine de Randamie and Cris Cyborg. De Randamie, now back at bantamweight, defeated Julianna Pena via third-round submission on Saturday's card and could be in line for a rematch against Holm while Nunes, a two-division champion, defends her 145-pound title in December.

CBS Sports was with you the entire way on Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from the UFC Fight Night card. 

UFC Fight Night card and results

  • Holly Holm def. Irene Aldana via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-45, 50-44)
  • Carlos Felipe def. Yorgan de Castro via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Germaine de Randamie def. Julianna Peña via third-round submission (guillotine choke)
  • Kyler Phillips def. Cameron Else via second-round TKO (punches)
  • Dusko Todorovic def. Daquan Townsend via second-round TKO (punches)
  • Carlos Condit def. Court McGee via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Charles Jourdain vs. Josh Culibao fight to split draw (30-27, 28-29, 28-28)
  • Nassourdine Imavov def. Jordan Williams via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)
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Scorecards: 50-44, 50-45 and 50-45 for Holly Holm.

They go the distance in what should be a shutout for Holm.

R5: Holm lands a kick to the body as Aldana stood up. Big punches from Holm land in the final 30 seconds.

R5: Holm scores a key takedown late.

R5: Good right hands from Aldana as she gets close. More blood trickles from Holm's nose but she remains in control. Good counter shots.

ROUND 5: Aldana comes out looking to close distance. Lead left hand from Holm lands flush. Trickle of blood comes out of Holm's nose.

R4: More of the same from Holm to close the round. Nice side kicks to the gut to keep Aldana away. Big combo of punches late from Holm.

R4: Nice takedown from Holm. This is domination.

R4: Nice body kick from Holm as Aldana thought a punch was coming. Holm is painting her up with clean kicks as Aldana just keeps following without cutting off the cage.

ROUND 4: Holm's left hands are keeping Aldana away even though she's pressing.

Aldana's corner implores her to come forward and let her hands go after losing the first three rounds.

Another 10-9 round for Holm.

R3: Lead left hand scores again for Holm. Each attempt at Aldana moving forward is met with a kick to stop her progress.

R3: Hammer punches from Holm. Aldana works to her feet but Holm forces the standing clinch. She won't let her breathe.

R3: Big elbows from Holm land. Her form and technique whether standing or on the ground remains a wide advantage over Aldana.

R3: Aldana works free from a kimura attempt but Holm is controlling from side position. Big punches to the body. She works to full mount on Aldana and scores with punches.

R3: Aldana starting to catch up just a bit with short punches. Holm instantly takes her down and does a great job keeping her there.

ROUND 3: Holm circling away from any attempt Aldana has at getting off first. High kick from Holm barely blocked by Aldana. Nice punching from Holm to control.

Another wide round for Holm, 10-9.

R2: Beautiful combo from Holm lands after they stood up. Holm's accuracy is on display right here. She is also keeping Aldana far enough away where her offense if not a threat.

R2: A third effort at a takedown succeeds for Holm. She moves into side position.

R2: Another takedown attempt from Holm gets stuffed as Aldana backs up to the cage and stands up tall.

R2: Holm peppers to the body and continues to back Aldana up anytime she pleases. Aldana stuffs a takedown with a knee from the clinch.

R2: Hard left hand from Holm wobbles Aldana. You could see Holly really load up there.

ROUND 2: Running left cross from Holm hits but Aldana landed a nice counter in the midst of that rush.

R1: Holm works hard for a second takedown to close out a clear round, 10-9.

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