LAS VEGAS — Aspen Ladd is one of those fighters whom the eyes tell you should be a star. She’s athletic, she has a good fight IQ, and she’s skilled in every discipline necessary in mixed martial arts.
But as she prepares to fight Norma Dumont on Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 40 at Apex, it’s fair to say that Ladd is an unknown quantity. She hasn’t fought since stopping Yana Kunitskaya on Dec. 7, 2019, and she’s missed weight twice in that time, including two weeks ago.
She’ll fight Dumont at featherweight on Saturday, 10 pounds north of bantamweight, where she was having so much difficulty hitting the 136-pound non-title limit.
She’s had numerous weight misses in her career, but that’s not the only reason for her inactivity. She was supposed to fight Sara McMann on June 27, 2020, but tore her ACL and MCL in training and was forced to withdraw.
Yet, it says something about Ladd’s enormous potential that she is a -150 favorite over Dumont at BetMGM. Dumont is now +125.
It’s difficult to know what to make of the fight. Dumont is 6-1 and coming off decision victories over Ashlee Evans-Smith and Felicia Spencer.
Ladd’s only loss was by TKO in 16 seconds to Germaine de Randamie on July 13, 2019. Ladd disputes that and believes it was far too quick of a stoppage, and that she deserved the opportunity to continue.
Given all that uncertainty surrounding Ladd, the wise play might be to skip the fight entirely, and if you choose to do that, good on you.
But Ladd’s versatility is so appealing. Dumont isn’t as good in many positions as Ladd, who figures to be able to dictate the fight.
There is also the mental side to this. Ladd was distraught after missing weight two weeks ago when she was scheduled to fight Macy Chiasson. Her period began during her weight cut, which she said made it hard for her to safely cut.
Not having to cut those extra 10 pounds should make a difference for her. And I love her overall game.
So I’ll play one unit on Ladd and lay the -150 and hope she is determined to remind the UFC brass how good she can be.
Other bets for UFC Vegas 40
• I’ll lay -250 and take Ramazan Emeev to win over Danny Roberts, who is +190.
• I like Manon Fiorot to win by KO over Mayra Bueno Silva, but BetMGM doesn’t have its prop bets up yet.
• I’ll take Andrew Sanchez at +120 to win over Bruno Silva, who is -145.