Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Featherweight talents Aspen Ladd and Norma Dumont will collide TONIGHT (Sat., Oct. 9, 2021) at UFC Vegas 39 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Let’s be honest here for a moment: Ladd has long been a Featherweight. She may have officially walked into the cage as a Bantamweight in the majority of her previous UFC contests, but when a fighter consistently missed weight or looks near-death on the scale before rehydrating by more than 20 pounds, well, it’s a good sign that something has to give.
This whole switch up in the last two weeks is likely a good thing for the 26-year-old.
Meanwhile, a lot of us assumed that Dumont wasn’t likely to last long on the roster after losing to Megan Anderson in her UFC debut — most Featherweights don’t. However, she’s put together consecutive wins since then, establishing herself as one of the few non-Amanda Nunes Featherweights worth keeping around.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:
Key Wins: Yana Kunitskaya (UFC on ESPN 7), Sijaru Eubanks (UFC Fight Night 152, Invicta FC 21), Tonya Evinger (UFC 229), Lina Lansberg (UFC Fight Night 118)
Key Losses: Germaine de Randamie (UFC Fight Night 155)
Keys to Victory: Ladd has been fighting since her teenage years, one of the still somewhat uncommon women in MMA who actually grew up in the sport. She’s a ground specialist, a quality wrestler who can quickly finish foes from top position with strikes and submissions alike.
Seven of her victories come inside the distance.
Ladd is not a one-note fighter, but she tends to win fights in a similar manner. Ladd uses her size and strength — still likely to be advantageous even at 145 pounds — to win clinch exchanges or duck into takedowns, where she’s quite good at chaining together takedown attempts.
Dumont has done surprisingly well with her wrestling thus far in her UFC career, but she has yet to face a wrestler anywhere near Ladd’s caliber. If Ladd fires off enough power punches to keep her foe honest, the takedown opening is likely to emerge, and that’s almost certainly the path to Ladd’s first Featherweight win.
Key Wins: Felicia Spencer (UFC Vegas 27), Ashlee Evans-Smith (UFC Vegas 15)
Key Losses: Megan Anderson (UFC Fight Night 167)
Keys to Victory: Dumont began her martial arts journey in Sanda, eventually scoring her black belt and a national title in the Chinese martial art. She also holds a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and thus far, she’s looked the part of a well-rounded fighter in her trio of trips to the Octagon.
Opposite Ladd, the strategy is clear. The two have similar measurements in height and reach, but Ladd is more limited as a boxer and wrestler. Dumont moves a bit more freely and is the superior kicker, so maintaining her distance sounds like good strategy.
Often, Ladd enters on a straight line. In order to avoid the clinch and takedown attempts of her opponent, Dumont has to provide an obstacle, a strike to interrupt that forward pressure. It could be a body jab or front kick, but Dumont has to land such a blow then feint it to keep Ladd from charging forward.
This is the first five-round fight in the career of both women (if we don’t count Ladd’s 16-second loss to Germaine de Randamie). Given Ladd’s very physical style and strange weight/preparation situation, Dumont would be wise to target the body often and look to extend this contest.
It might just pay off big in the championship rounds.
It’s a women’s Featherweight main event, but I don’t know this match is a sign of UFC actually committing to the division.
One way or another, Ladd belongs as 145 pounds. Given that Amanda Nunes is the champion of both divisions, is the road to the title really that different? To earn a shot at “The Lioness,” Ladd has to defeat someone like Holly Holm either way. She can do that at Featherweight, where the path to the top is much shorter ... provided she wins here.
As for Dumont, her big issue is that no one really knows who she is yet. If a main event here is enough to change that, well, Dumont would be on a three-fight win streak in an otherwise dead division. Perhaps the Holm match up is booked once again, but either way, Dumont would at most be one fight away from a shot at gold.
At UFC Vegas 40, Aspen Ladd and Norma Dumont will go to war in the main event. Which woman earns the victory?
Remember that 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+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.
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