UFC on ESPN 41 is coming along quite nicely, as we’ve already got eight separate bouts booked for this event.
UFC on ESPN 41 is to be headlined by top bantamweight contenders in no. 5 ranked Marlon Vera and no. 8 ranked former champion Dominick Cruz.
Another bout that’s recently been added to the card comes in the women’s bantamweight division between no. 7 ranked Aspen Ladd and no. 8 ranked former title challenger Sara McMann.
This is the UFC’s second attempt at putting this bout together, as the two were initially expected to meet back in June of 2020. However, the booking fell through as Ladd tore two different ligaments in her knee leading up to it.
There were actually four cancelled bouts in that time that kept Ladd out of competition for nearly two years.
Since returning, she’s gone 0-2, being defeated by Norma Dumont up at 145 lbs, and then Raquel Pennington in her return to the bantamweight division.
Prior to that however, she’d gone 9-1 (4-1 UFC) through her first ten bouts, only losing to former UFC women’s featherweight champion and multi-time kickboxing world champion Germaine de Randamie (TKO).
Sara McMann is one of the most credentialed freestyle wrestlers to ever step foot inside an MMA cage, becoming an Olympic silver medalist in the sport, which led her to an initial 7-0 start in MMA.
She then fought Ronda Rousey for the UFC women’s bantamweight championship, losing the bout via TKO in round one.
McMann would then go 4-2 over her next six contests, only losing to Miesha Tate (MD) and Amanda Nunes (rear naked choke) but would run into back-to-back submission defeats following her three-fight win streak, bringing her record to 11-5.
McMann took a couple years off following these setbacks, and has gone 2-1 since returning, only losing to current women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Pena, who submitted (rear naked choke) her in round three of a fight she was dominating.
At 41 years old, turning 42 in September, it’s absolutely incredible to see Sara McMann continue to compete amongst the best bantamweight talents in the sport. And, as for Aspen Ladd coming in on a two-fight skid, her timing just didn’t look great in either fight since returning, perhaps due to the forced inactivity.
Nonetheless, Ladd is still only 27 years old, she has a considerable amount of time to fill these gaps.
Who walks away from this bout at UFC on ESPN 41 the victor?
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.