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A pair of top-five Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweights with recent issues on the scales are expected to toe the line in April.
ESPN Deportes revealed on Thursday that Irene Aldana (13-6) has been offered a fight against Aspen Ladd (9-2) at UFC 273 on April 9. Should the two agree to compete, they will likely throw down inside of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. in the promotion’s first trip to the venue since the beginning of 2019. Ladd had been aiming for a matchup with ex-champ Miesha Tate, but that fell through when Tate declined the pairing.
Aldana will be looking to make it two in a row when she takes on the California native, as she trumped Yana Kunitskaya in July for her lone appearance in 2021. The win rebounded her from a five-round setback against former champion Holly Holm in October 2020, where she headlined an event for the first time in her career. The victory did not come without questions, as she missed weight by 3.5 pounds before taking on Kunitskaya. The Mexican fighter was initially booked against Germaine de Randamie for UFC 268, but de Randamie withdrew due to injury and Aldana did not receive a replacement opponent.
Ladd will be attempting to return to the bantamweight division after an unsuccessful featherweight effort against Norma Dumont in October. Ladd was requested to take the matchup at 145 pounds after missing weight in a few weeks before fighting Dumont, as she was not medically cleared to compete at bantamweight. The organization is giving her another try in the division where she went 4-1 as a member of the roster, with wins over Kunitskaya and Lina Lansberg bolstering a short but growing resume of names.
UFC 273 is expected to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., barring restrictions or issues resulting from the ongoing pandemic. No headliner has been announced for this event, and it is expected but not certain that Aldana-Ladd will be placed on the main card. The only other bout billed for the pay-per-view currently is a featherweight clash pitting Pat Sabatini against Gavin Tucker.