Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at debuting bantamweight Aspen Ladd as she takes on Jessica Eye at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hometown: Folsom, California
Reach: 69.5 inches
Weight Class: Women’s Bantamweight
Camp: MMA Gold
Career Record: 5-0
Key Wins: Amanda Bobby Cooper
Key Losses: None
The undefeated bantamweight is one of the top women’s prospects not in the UFC. She’s a young fighter at just 22 years of age but already has a well-rounded skill set. Of her first five career fights, four of them have ended inside the distance.
- Well-rounded fighter
- Fights with a maturity beyond her years
- Nice punching combinations on the feet
- Knows how to push opponents against the cage
- Good grappler
- Excellent use of elbows on the ground
- Bit undersized for the division
- Lacks punching power
- Too willing to take punches to get inside of her opponent’s reach
- Offensive wrestling not as effective at bantamweight
Offensive Striking: C
Striking Defense: D+
Knockout Power: D
Athleticism / Speed: C
Offensive Wrestling: D+
Takedown Defense: C-
Overall Grade: C
Matchup with Jessica Eye
Ladd makes her UFC debut against a former UFC Top 15 bantamweight in Eye. Despite Ladd having only five professional fights, she has reason to be confident against Eye. While Ladd will have difficulty with some of the bigger fighters in the division, Eye is more of a natural flyweight, so from a physical perspective, these fighters are close to equal. On the feet, the striking is fairly close. Eye has a good boxing game and deceptive power. While Ladd doesn’t have the power that Eye does, she has a more diverse striking game, and her aggressive style holds up over the course of 15 minutes. In a prolonged striking exchange, I like Ladd’s volume work and think that will be a bit more effective. All of that said, Ladd has a major advantage on the ground. Eye has been controlled by opponents in the past from top control. She has not shown an ability to scramble to her feet. One thing Ladd does well is find the clinch and work for takedowns. In top control, Ladd is able to work from different angles and stays busy with both elbows and punches. With a takedown defense of just 61 percent, Eye is vulnerable to Ladd’s takedown attempts and could find herself down early in this fight needing a finish to win. Ladd has shown maturity in how she fights, and I expect that “Octagon jitters” will not be a factor in this fight.
At just 22 years of age, Ladd is one of the youngest fighters in the UFC. Given her age, she fights with a surprising level of maturity. It is that maturity which should allow here to compete with much more experienced fighters out of the gate in the UFC. If she continues to get stronger, Ladd has the technical tools to be a Top 10 bantamweight in the world.
Check out Aspen Ladd in some of her most recent fights…
Ladd vs. Jessica Hoy
Ladd vs. Kelly McGill