Preview: UFC Fight Night 195 ‘Ladd vs. Dumont’

Ladd vs. Dumont

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The most notable piece of the UFC Fight Night 195 main card on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas is the weak main event between Aspen Ladd and Norma Dumont—the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s third choice among a batch of bad options after some other ideas fell through. On the plus side, everything else on this five-fight slate looks solid. Andrei Arlovksi is tasked with turning back yet another prospect when he meets Carlos Felipe in the co-headliner. The Belarusian heavyweight is not the only veteran presence lined up, as Jim Miller returns for his record 38th appearance inside the Octagon in a showdown with promotional newcomer Erick Gonzalez. Add in one of the most promising women’s flyweights in Manon Fiorot and a middleweight banger pitting Julian Marquez against Jordan Wright, and this feels like a well-matched exercise and an enjoyable time. All it needed was a legitimate headliner instead of a bout that happens to come last.

Now to the UFC Fight Night 195 ‘Ladd vs. Dumont’ preview:

Women’s Featherweights

#3 WBW | Aspen Ladd (9-1, 4-1 UFC) vs. NR | Norma Dumont (6-1, 2-1 UFC)

ODDS: Ladd (-137), Dumont (+117)

This is not the strongest main event, but it was not the UFC’s first choice, either. When the initial headliner between Miesha Tate and Ketlen Vieira had to be postponed, the promotion went with what was the best of a bunch of bad options during a dire stretch in the UFC schedule, promoting a featherweight bout between Dumont and Holly Holm to the marquee slot. The fight was viable as such solely due to the star power of Holm, who naturally wound up getting injured shortly before this card, resulting in this thrown-together bout between Dumont and Ladd. There are some positives, at least. It is a much closer fight than what figured to be a Holm blowout win over Dumont, and with the women’s featherweight division essentially non-existent, the winner could find herself facing Amanda Nunes for the title in short order. Of course, there is also the fact that this opportunity has finally gotten Ladd to move up to her natural weight class. The UFC seemed firmly in the Ladd business during her rise on the bantamweight ladder despite her issues making weight. After three wins, she was suddenly thrust into a main event opposite Germaine de Randamie. However, that fight, which saw de Randamie win via knockout in just 16 seconds, was where all the issues with Ladd’s game quickly came home to roost. She has relied on physicality and aggression over any sort of technique, and the combination of her slow starts and lack of defense led to de Randamie ending the fight before it ever truly began. Ladd’s lone fight since was a December 2019 victory over Yana Kunitskaya, and it was a mixed bag. It was a relatively even slog for two rounds until Ladd was suddenly inspired to turn up her aggression, at which point she knocked Kunitskaya to the mat and finished her on the ground just 33 seconds into the third frame. From there, Ladd suffered a major knee injury that kept her out for all of 2020. Her latest scheduled bout—against Macy Chiasson just two weeks ago—was scrapped when Ladd missed weight while looking in no condition to fight. It is a bit worrying that Ladd is turning around to fight here, but perhaps the lesser weight cut will go much smoother. This is a big opportunity for Ladd to quickly change the narrative of her career.

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Then there is Dumont, who has been in much the same boat of being stuck between weight classes. “The Immortal” was seemingly set to follow the path of some other fighters before her. After a brief but successful regional career at bantamweight, the Brazilian made her UFC debut at featherweight, where she quickly got knocked out by Megan Anderson and figured to drop back down to 135 pounds afterwards. At least that was the plan. Dumont’s bantamweight career in the UFC was marked by weight misses and scrapped fights to the point that she was also essentially forced up to featherweight for a bout against Felicia Spencer in May. That figured to be a huge problem, as most of Dumont’s style has been built around aggression and physicality, but she put on a surprisingly solid performance against Spencer, earning the upset win in what was admittedly a poor showing from the former Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder. This fight figures to wind up as a weird mess, as both women tend to get by on their physical attributes rather than any sort of technical acumen; and with Ladd moving up in weight, it is unclear if she will suddenly be less drained and in stronger form or if she will just be physically outmatched. Given Ladd’s tendency to start slowly, Dumont figures to get out to an early lead at the very least. From there, it is an open question as to when Ladd decides to hit the accelerator to try and take things to the mat, or if she will even be successful doing so. Ladd does seem to be the more potent fighter with all else being equal, so unless the quick turnaround from her last weight cut drains her here, she will likely be able to get the ball rolling towards a finish whenever she chooses to do so. The pick is Ladd via third-round stoppage.

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