After a whirlwind ending to her 2020 year, Aspen Ladd has her first assignment for 2021. An initial report from ESPN Deportes which was later confirmed by MMA Junkie reported that Ladd will meet bantamweight contender Irene Aldana at UFC 273 which is scheduled on April 9, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Returning from injury in 2021, Aspen Ladd had to face adversity with several fight cancellations, some due to weight-cutting issues, and others due to a torn ACL and MCL in 2020, and she was only able to get one fight under her belt this past year. That fight came as a featherweight contest against Norma Dumont on relatively short notice, a fight that Ladd would come up short in, losing by unanimous decision.
Although she’s 1-2 in her last three fights, Aspen Ladd is 9-2 in her professional career with plenty of potential remaining in her career and a fight against Aldana could get her right back into the bantamweight title picture. After her loss to Dumont, Ladd called for a fight against former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, a challenge that the former champion turned down pretty quickly.
Irene Aldana is coming off an incredibly impressive TKO victory over Yana Kunitskaya back at UFC 264, the last time she competed inside the UFC Octagon. The third-ranked contender in the division has won 5 of her last 7 fights in her UFC tenure, her only two losses coming to Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington.
With the UFC women’s bantamweight title changing hands in a major upset with Julianna Pena defeating Amanda Nunes at UFC 269 this past month, there will likely be some time before either Ladd or Aldana can get into title contention, but the opportunity is there for the winner. With Nunes and Holly Holm at the top of the bantamweight division, either Ladd or Aldana could be next in line after Pena and Nunes fight through their newly-born rivalry.
As of now, there are only two fights listed for UFC 273, with Aldana vs Ladd being one, and Pat Sabatini vs Gavin Tucker being set as well.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
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