A matchup of female bantamweight contenders has been targeted for UFC Columbus, as Aspen Ladd and Julianna Pena are expected to clash on March 28.
ESPN was first to report the pairing. Contracts for the bout have not yet been signed, but the fight is close to being finalized by the promotion. UFC Columbus takes place at Nationwide Arena and is headlined by a heavyweight tilt between Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The card will air on ESPN.
After suffering her first career defeat in a 16-second technical knockout against Germaine de Randamie in July, Ladd bounced back to score a third-round stoppage of Yana Kunitskaya at UFC on ESPN 7 in her most recent outing. The 24-year-old also owns wins over Sijara Eubanks, Tonya Evinger and Lina Lansberg in UFC competition.
Pena returned from a more than two-year absence at UFC Fight Night 155, where she outpointed former flyweight queen Nicco Montano. Pena is 5-1 during tenure with the Las Vegas-based promotion and owns other notable wins against Cat Zingano and Jessica Eye.