Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight talents Aspen Ladd and Macy Chiasson will collide this weekend (Sat., July 24, 2021) at UFC Vegas 32 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s been the better part of two years since we’ve seen Ladd inside the Octagon, the unfortunate result of a full ACL and MCL tear in 2020. On the plus side, Ladd remains just 26 years old despite a wealth of high-level experience, and if she’s able to return in similar form, she remains a likely title contender. Chiasson, meanwhile, is one of the other bright prospects at 135 pounds, of which there are few. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) champion is 5-1 inside the Octagon, which has lead to a Top 10 ranking and high expectations moving forward.
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: As evidenced by her intense weight cuts, Ladd is one of the largest and strongest women competing at Bantamweight. Her physicality is a major edge in wrestling exchanges, and she’s shown some quality pop in her hands as well.
The gameplan is relatively straight forward for Ladd: wrestle. She faces a foe in Chiasson who also relies on her physical prowess, but it seems unlikely that Chiasson can muscle Ladd around. Better yet, Chiasson was handily outwrestled in her sole UFC loss by Lina Lansberg, the same woman whom Ladd pretty quickly battered on the mat.
I don’t mean to go full MMA math on my readers, but ... sometimes it’s that simple!
Otherwise, keeping Chiasson on her back foot in general seems wise. Chiasson likes to bully her opponents, so flipping the script on her is likely to produce great results.
Key Wins: Marion Reneau (UFC Vegas 22), Gina Mazany (UFC 235), Pannie Kianzad (TUF 28 Finale), Shanna Young (UFC Fight Night 167)
Key Losses: Lina Lansberg (UFC Fight Night 160)
Keys to Victory: I don’t mean to undersell Chiasson’s skills in the above section while talking about her strength and bullying style. Chiasson is pretty slick on her feet, particularly in the clinch, and she really excels at swarming wounded or fading opponents.
This bout is all about out-lasting Ladd. Most likely, Ladd’s strength and wrestling skill is enough to drag Chiasson down early — that’s the reality. However, if Chiasson can walk the line of constantly forcing her foe to work without giving up a fight-finishing position in the process, then the tide may turn to her favor.
Fortunately, Ladd tends to prefer clinch takedowns, and Chiasson is comfortable there. If Chiasson can continually work her back up and start landing short knees to the mid-section, well, that’s a really exhausting combination for her opponent. Historically, Ladd has struggled to maintain her own pace, likely in part due to that brutal weight cut.
Therefore, the goal is clear enough: attack the gas tank. Body shots and scrambles are perhaps Chiasson’s best path, but she could also look to reverse position in the clinch and jam her foe into the cage, which Kunitskaya did with some success.
The women’s Bantamweight title picture is a strange place right now.
Let’s face it, there simply aren’t many worthy contenders to Amanda Nunes’ throne. Julianna Pena is getting a title shot simply because she was vocal about it. Could the winner of this fight end up earning a similar opportunity? Sure! Why not? Unless particularly bold in her manner of victory or post-fight callout, however, the more likely outcome is a high-profile fight with someone like Holly Holm or the resurgent Miesha Tate.
Since there are relatively few women’s Bantamweight up-and-comers — you’re looking at the best of ‘em! — a loss doesn’t hurt that bad. If Nunes keeps chewing up and spitting out contenders at her current rate, another title opening will be available soon. Plus, for Ladd specifically, getting back to the cage following such a gnarly injury is a win in itself.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 32 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.
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At UFC Vegas 32, Aspen Ladd and Macy Chiasson will scrap in the co-main event. Which woman will earn the victory?