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UFC Vegas 40 preview, ‘Ladd vs Dumont’ predictions

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UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

No. 3-ranked women’s bantamweight contender Aspen Ladd, who was tossed from her Macy Chiasson fight earlier this month after failing to make weight (yet again), will jump up to 145 pounds for a short-notice affair opposite female featherweight bruiser Norma Dumont in the UFC Vegas 40 main event, which takes place this Sat. night (Oct. 16, 2021) inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ladd replaces the injured Holly Holm, who is expected to remain sidelined until some point in early 2022. Tomorrow night’s co-main event will feature heavyweight hurters Andrei Arlovski and Carlos Felipe, with the “Pit Bull” hoping to win his second straight against the Brazilian “Boi.”

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 44 On ESPN+

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Dec 4, 2021, with a thrilling Bantamweight contenders’ bout that will see No. 4-ranked Rob Font battle No. 5-seeded Jose Aldo. In UFC Vegas 44’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Lightweight contender, Brad Riddell, squares off with No. 14-seeded Rafael Fiziev in a striking fan’s dream fight.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, head over to the UFC Vegas 40 preliminary card breakdown expertly deconstructed by the shamelessly overworked Patrick Stumberg here and here. For the latest “Ladd vs. Dumont” odds and betting lines make sure to check out the best sportsbooks reviews if you’re going to be getting in on the action.

Let’s break it down ...

145 lbs.: Aspen Ladd vs. Norma Dumont

Aspen Ladd

Record: 9-1 | Age: 26 | Betting line: -150
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 5’6“ | Reach: 66” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 5.22 | Striking accuracy: 55%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.84 | Striking Defense: 46%
Takedown Average: 2.45 (75% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 66%
Current Ranking: No. 3 | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Yana Kunitskaya

Norma Dumont

Record: 6-1 | Age: 31 | Betting line: +125
Wins: 0 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 5’7“ | Reach: 67” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.98 | Striking accuracy: 53%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.86 | Striking Defense: 67%
Takedown Average: 1.79 (40% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 100%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Split decision win over Felicia Spencer

Aspen Ladd is ranked No. 3 in the women’s bantamweight division, which skews on the generous side when you consider the former Invicta FC standout has not competed in nearly two years. It’s also a testament to how thin the 135-pound division has become, with aging veterans Germaine de Randamie (37) and Holly Holm (39) clinging to the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively. I guess now is a good time to mention that most of the attention afforded to Ladd has been in a negative light, between multiple scale fails, her oft-protested knockout loss to De Randamie, and the extensive surgery she had to repair a badly-damaged knee. I will give her credit for bouncing back from her “Iron” defeat to capture a technical knockout win over Yana Kunitskaya. That said, “Foxy” has been finished in five of her six losses, so putting away the Russian import is no longer a headline in 2021. I’m also not going crazy for victories over Sijara Eubanks and Tonya Evinger, neither of whom are ranked in the Top 15. The counter to that argument is that Ladd is still only 26 years old and has yet to enter her fighting prime, so viewed through that lens her accomplishments could be considered more impressive.

Impressive enough to make her the favorite against Norma Dumont? Slightly, according to the sportsbooks, though the line is much close than it was against Holm, who was originally booked for this five-round headliner before withdrawing due to injury. Dumont goes by the moniker “The Immortal,” which may be up for debate after watching her get pasted by Megan Anderson in the Brazilian’s UFC debut. What followed were rebound wins over Ashlee Evans-Smith and Felicia Spencer, the latter of which was split across the judges’ scorecards, so it’s not like Dumont has been tearing through the division. It’s also a little concerning when a fighter registers zero knockouts, which I suppose is not overly egregious for a combatant with just seven professional fights, but it certainly doesn’t give me a ton of confidence heading into this five-round affair. Despite Ladd moving up from bantamweight, there is not enough of a height or reach discrepancy (one inch for each) to have it impact this fight. Evinger was a much larger opponent and Ladd ran through her like Terry Tate ran through the Felcher & Sons front office.

There are a lot of questions heading into this main event, most of them about Ladd. I don’t think her moving up from bantamweight is going to make much difference since the scales continue to prove the Californian is a natural featherweight. Ladd was also in fight camp for this month’s Macy Chiasson bout, so “short notice” doesn’t mean she’s jumping off the couch to throw hands, she’s simply readjusting her gameplan. To what degree? It’s hard to answer honestly without it sounding like an insult against Dumont. At the same time, “The Immortal” hasn't really shown us anything spectacular — or anything at all, to be frank. A 2-1 record with both wins coming by way of decision is not enough to pick her for this fight, even when coupled will the baggage Ladd has been carrying over the last two years. Dumont will be game, of course, but Ladd is too good of a wrestler and has too much power to let this one get away.

Prediction: Ladd def. Dumont by technical knockout

265 lbs.: Andrei Arlovski vs. Carlos Felipe

Andrei “Pit Bull” Arlovski

Record: 31-20, 2 NC | Age: 42 | Betting line: -105
Wins: 17 KO/TKO, 3 SUB, 11 DEC | Losses: 11 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 7 DEC
Height: 6’3“ | Reach: 77” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.62 | Striking accuracy: 44%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.95 | Striking Defense: 57%
Takedown Average: 0.45 (36% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 78%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Chase Sherman

Carlos “Boi” Felipe

Record: 11-1 | Age: 26 | Betting line: -115
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 5 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 6’0“ | Reach: 75” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.88 | Striking accuracy: 46%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 5.62 | Striking Defense: 50%
Takedown Average: 0.00 (0% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 72%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Split decision win over Jake Collier

Andrei Arlovski will make his 36th appearance inside the Octagon this Sat. night in Las Vegas, which leaves him in third place all time behind Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller — who also competes this weekend in “Sin City.” I’ve been hard on the aging “Pit Bull” over the years simply because the Belarusian brawler never seems to learn anything from his losses, which is probably why he’s got 20 of them affixed to his permanent record. I know it’s hard to make an argument for CTE when Arlovski continues to speak eloquently on the mic, but I think anyone with double-digit knockout losses — especially at age 42 — is playing Russian roulette with their longterm health, even if no symptoms are apparent in the present tense. To his credit, Arlovski has won four of his last six, but he also hasn’t scored a knockout or submission in over six years, a span of 18 heavyweight fights. Even if you’re a die-hard “Pit Bull” fan, that statistic has to be somewhat concerning, even against an up-and-comer like Carlos Felipe.

I know this is going to sound disrespectful but Felipe is not a natural heavyweight, he’s one of those fat light heavyweights with zero interest in maintaining the kind of physique required to compete at 205 pounds. He’s barely six-feet tall and sports a 75-inch reach, so he’s going to stay at a disadvantage in nearly every fight (including this one). It’s working for now, evidenced by his 11-1 record, but like his fellow Brazilian in the UFC Vegas 43 main event, all that glitters is not gold. “Boi” — an early candidate for worst nickname of the year (Fuck Boi? Sus Boi? I don’t get it) — stands at 3-1 under the UFC banner with all four bouts going to the judges’ scorecards. The last two were splits, so Felipe could very easily be 1-3 instead of 3-1. I know it’s still early, Felipe is just 26, it was just annoying to hear him refer to Arlovski as a “gatekeeper” during Wednesday’s media event. The Belarusian is not keeping any gates and isn’t even ranked in the Top 15, so a victory on Sat. night does nothing for the Brazilian’s career. A loss, however, will definitely establish a very short ceiling for Felipe, no pun intended.

At this stage of his career, it’s kind of hard to know what you’re going to get from Arlovski on a fight-by-fight basis. Questions remain about his durability, a byproduct of his 11 knockout losses, but he’s only been knocked out once in his last 13 fights, and that came against Surinamese slugger Jairzinho Rozenstruik. In addition, Felipe has yet to demonstrate anything inside the Octagon that would suggest he’s a lock for tomorrow night’s showdown. Sorry, but squeaking past Justin Tafa and Jake Collier does not impress me. There are plenty of things working against Arlovski and I won’t just brush them away for the sake of this prediction. At the same time, he’s spent the last 20 years of his career fighting some of the best heavyweights in the world. All Felipe has done is recycle some Brazilian cans, like the 0-5 Ronilson Santos and the 0-2 Paulo Cesar Almeida. Even if the “Pit Bull” sticks to his play-it-safe offense, it should be more than enough to keep the inexperienced “Boi” at bay.

Prediction: Arlovski def. Felipe by unanimous decision

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 40 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 40 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Ladd vs. Dumont” fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.