Saturday, November 26, 2022

Aspen Ladd’s PFL Debut Opponent Announced

Former UFC contender Aspen Ladd reportedly has her first assignment under the Professional Fighters League (PFL) banner set.

After her latest struggle on the scale, which forced another bout to be canceled on late notice, Ladd was released from the UFC. With that, the once-highly touted 27-year-old’s time in the Octagon came to an end after seven appearances.

It didn’t take long for the Californian to decide upon her next step in mixed martial arts, with Ladd becoming the latest recent UFC departee to join the PFL, where she’s expected to compete in the 2023 regular season having signed a multi-year deal with the promotion.

Now, Ladd’s first outing in her new organization appears set. Per MMA Mania, the former ranked UFC women’s bantamweight will meet former Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd at the PFL finals event on November 25.

The card, which will see six championships and $1 million checks up for grabs, will mark the PFL’s first-ever pay-per-view offering, and is set to be held inside the Hulu Theater at the prestigious Madison Square Garden in New York.

Ladd Looks For Winning Start Versus Budd

Prior to arriving on MMA’s biggest stage, Ladd (9-3) created hype around her name with a successful run under the Invicta FC banner. Her perfect 5-0 record there included wins over Amanda Cooper and Sijara Eubanks.

Upon joining the UFC, Ladd reeled off a further three straight victories, with a second success against Eubanks following a pair of triumphs over Lina Länsberg and Tonya Evinger. But in the four fights that followed, the 27-year-old Folsom native had her hand raised just once.

Aside from a victory over Yana Kunitskaya, Ladd fell to defeats opposite Germaine de Randamie, Norma Dumont, and Raquel Pennington. Her form inside the cage was also compounded by missteps on the scales, which ultimately forced the UFC’s hand with regards to her release.

She’ll now look to revive her career, starting with a successful PFL debut against Budd (16-4). The 39-year-old Canadian, who held gold under the Bellator banner between 2017 and 2020, was expected to be the biggest threat to dominant lightweight Kayla Harrison upon her arrival to the SmartCage last year.

But after a successful promotional debut against Kaitlin Young at the 2021 finals, “The Jewel” saw her hopes of championship glory fall away this year, with a defeat to Genah Fabian and an injury prior to a date in the cage with Harrison leaving her short of playoff qualification.

With a 145-pound roster looking likely for 2023, Budd will hope to find form again back at her usual weight class, beginning by upsetting the welcome party for Ladd.

Should Ladd’s promotional debut fill the final showcase spot on the PPV card, the full 2022 PFL finals event will be as follows:

6PM ET/ESPN+

Showcase Fight (TBA)

Biaggio Ali Walsh vs. Tom Graesser (amateur lightweight)

Dakota Ditcheva vs. Katherine Corogenes (women’s flyweight)

Jeremy Stephens vs. Natan Schulte (lightweight)

8PM ET/ESPN+ PPV

Robert Wilkinson vs. Omari Akhmedov (light heavyweight championship)

Sadibou Sy vs. Dilano Taylor (welterweight championship)

Aspen Ladd vs. Julia Budd (women’s featherweight)

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Stevie Ray (lightweight championship)

Ante Delija vs. Matheus Scheffel (heavyweight championship)

Shane Burgos vs. Marlon Moraes (featherweight)

Brendan Loughnane vs. Bubba Jenkins (featherweight championship co-main event)

Kayla Harrison vs. Larissa Pacheco (women’s lightweight championship main event)

Who do you think will have their hand raised at the PFL finals, Aspen Ladd or Julia Budd?

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