Friday, December 9, 2022

UFC Vegas 40: Aspen Ladd vs. Norma Dumont Preview/Prediction

Aspen Ladd will make her featherweight debut against Norma Dumont at UFC Vegas 40.

Ladd and Dumont will mix it up at 145-pounds and look to keep the division moving. After four canceled fights in a row, the once-bantamweight Ladd will look to reinstate herself as a contender in a brand-new weight class.

Ladd’s opponent changed after an injury forced Holly Holm out of their scheduled fight. Earlier this month at UFC Vegas 38, the dehydrated 26-year-old took to the scale and missed her mark as she weighed in at 137 pounds, one pound above the bantamweight limit.

Following the weight miss, former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate was not short on criticism for the young contender. The former titleholder called Ladd a cheater following the weight miss at UFC Vegas 38. Even Ladd’s coach Jim West got involved following Miesha Tate’s comments.

Despite all of the outside noise, Ladd comes to fight and the former bantamweight showed as much in her last performance. The American was paired with Yana Kunitskaya and the two fought a relatively close battle.

However, after some encouragement from her coach after round two, Ladd sat down on a left-cross that sent Kunitskaya to the canvas. Once Ladd began the ground and pound, the fight was over and Ladd cemented herself as one of the top contenders at 135-pounds, or so it seemed.

Aspen Ladd

Following the UFC Vegas 38 weigh-in results, it was clear Ladd was ill and unable to compete at the 136-pound limit required in her fight against her rescheduled foe, Macy Chiasson. Despite weighing in on the scale, Ladd could barely maintain her balance and the fight was called off after Chiasson refused to accept the terms.

Ladd has only lost once inside of the UFC. In 2019, the former bantamweight was tasked with fighting former 145-pound titleholder Germaine de Randamie, a decorated kickboxer with a wealth of experience. The contest ended in a flash, and Randamie landed a swift right cross that knocked Ladd to the mat.

Similar to Aspen Ladd, Dumont has only lost once under the UFC banner. The featherweight lost to Megan Anderson in her debut with the organization. In particular, the 31-year-old lost by knockout after being caught by a right cross. Meanwhile, Dumont has steadied her focus and began to put together some solid wins inside of the Octagon.

First, Dumont was tasked with fighting Ashlee Evans-Smith and won the bout handily by unanimous decision victory. The fight that put her on the 145-pound map was her decision win over former title challenger Felicia Spencer. Despite the decision being split, most expected Spencer to take out the relatively unknown commodity in Dumont.

Norma Dumont: 'I must do a good job' so the UFC doesn't kill featherweight  division - MMA Fighting
Norma Dumont, Zuffa LLC

Of Dumont’s six professional wins, a quarter of them has been submissions. Since grappling appears to be the featherweight’s Modus Apprendi, perhaps she intends to implore a more wrestling-centric approach when fight night rolls around. As Ladd will most likely enjoy an advantage in the striking department, it will be up to Dumont to control the tempo of the action.

Unlike Dumont, even with Ladd’s short sample size, the 26-year-old’s finishing rate is outstanding. Of nine professional fights, six victories have come courtesy of the power in her hands. Dumont will need to utilize evasive footwork so Ladd is unable to predict her position when throwing the harder shots.

Since Ladd has shown that she is unable to make the bantamweight limit, this will be a fresh start for the California native. Certainly, if Ladd had power at 135-pounds, the snap on her punches should ring even louder going forward. With less focus on the weight and more attention on strategical forethought, featherweight Ladd may look better than her lighter form.

At UFC Vegas 40, these two featherweights are looking for a commanding performance. With “The Lioness” set for a bantamweight title defense on Dec. 11 at UFC 269, her next target will likely be at 145-pounds if she intends to continue holding two different gold belts.

Prediction: Aspen Ladd def. Norma Dumont via unanimous decision