Aldana (12-6 MMA, 5-4 UFC) dropped a one-sided unanimous decision to former bantamweight champion Holm in the UFC on ESPN 16 headliner at Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi in what was being dubbed a No. 1 contender fight for the Mexican standout.
The 32-year-old Aldana had a hard time cutting off the cage against Holm (14-5 MMA, 7-5 UFC), who used her movement, wrestling and diverse striking to keep Aldana guessing.
Aldana acknowledged as much in a statement posted on her Instagram.
“Today things didn’t go my way. 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 entered the fight having won five of her past six but will look to get back to the drawing board.
Holm meanwhile, at 38, remains very much in the women’s 135-pound title picture. Since losing the belt in 2016, Holm has received three title shots but come up short each time to Germaine de Randamie and Cris Cyborg at featherweight, as well as Amanda Nunes at bantamweight.