The UFC handed Aspen Ladd the opportunity to headline a UFC event. She did not capitalize on her good fortune.
Ladd missed weight for her UFC Vegas 38 bantamweight bout opposite Macy Chiasson and that fight was dropped from the card. With Holly Holm falling out of her scheduled headlining fight against Norma Dumont at UFC Vegas 40, the UFC tapped Ladd for the main event slot.
Had Ladd defeated Dumont, she might have earned a shot at women’s featherweight champion Amanda Nunes. She did not defeat Dumont. In fact, how she lost to Dumont might affect her standing in the bantamweight division, where she is No. 3 in the official UFC rankings.
Before the main event went down, a pair of UFC vets, Jim Miller and Andrei Arlovski earned victories. Miller picked up his 13th UFC fight-night bonus in his record setting 38th UFC fight by stopping Erick Gonzalez. Arlovski picked up a decision win over Carlos Felipe.
Norma Dumont: Norma Dumont did what she had to do to beat Aspen Ladd. What she had to do was be patient, fight behind her jab, and keep the fight from hitting the mat. For the most part, Dumont succeeded in each of those categories and she earned herself a clear unanimous decision win.
Andrei Arlovski: Andrei Arlovski had a good two rounds against Carlos Felipe. He used his kicks to keep Felipe away and also to set up striking combinations when he rushed forward. He had good head movement and footwork as well during the first 10 minutes. The downside for Arlovski came in the final five minutes. It appeared his effort in the first two rounds left him a little low on energy, and that allowed Felipe to stay in the fight.
Jim Miller: Jim Miller has been with the UFC since 2008. During that time he’s always been a fighter who fights to finish or be finished. On Saturday he picked up his 14th finish with the UFC with a knockout win over Erick Gonzalez. The knockout was Miller’s first stoppage via strikes since he scored a TKO over Takanori Gomi at UFC 200. The victory ended a two-fight losing skid for Miller.
Manon Fiorot: Manon Fiorot was a big favorite to beat Mayra Bueno Silva on Saturday and she did just that. With the one-sided decision win Fiorot extended her UFC winning streak to three straight and her overall run to eight straight victories. Fiorot used high output, combinations and timely takedowns to dominate the flyweight contest.
Fiorot looked good in the win, but the jury should still be out on her potential upside. Her combinations, while nice to see, need some work. Fiorot needs to work on mixing up her striking choices and timing if she wants to avoid getting countered when she faces top-level competition. Fiorot is good, but she is a work in progress.
Nate Landwehr: Nate Landwehr was the biggest underdog on this fight card. I was kind of shocked by that. Landwehr, while not what one would call a technical fighter, is a fighter — a nasty, gritty fighter who does not quit. Ľudovít Klein was much more technically skilled than Landwehr, but he seemed to be missing the grit and heart that his opponent possessed. Landwehr just outworked Klein and left him without the ability to fight off the fight-ending choke. A really impressive win from Landwehr.
Bruno Silva: Bruno Silva spent most of the first two rounds of his fight against Andrew Sanchez on the mat, with Sanchez controlling the action. The benefit Silva gained from that was he still had enough gas in the tank to put Sanchez in trouble via strikes in the third round. That cardio and those strikes were enough to give Silva a come from behind stoppage win.
Danny Roberts: Danny Roberts was a big underdog to Ramazan Emeev. He scored an upset decision win on Saturday and the win might have come thanks to his coaching staff telling him he needed to up the aggression. With Roberts getting a win in his first fight in nearly two years, Roberts is looking to get back into the octagon and with the upset victory, his confidence should be high when he gets that opportunity.
Danaa Batgerel: Danaa Batgerel, who earned a “Fight of the Night” bonus in a losing effort in his UFC debut, scored his third straight first-round knockout win on Saturday when he stopped Brandon Davis at 2:01. The 32-year-old might be ready to move up from the prelims and he is 100 percent ready for a step up in competition in the bantamweight division.
Ariane Carnelossi: Ariane Carnelossi used her strength and aggression to score a third-round submission win over Istela Nunes. It wasn’t the prettiest performance — Carnelossi mostly rushed forward with wild strikes to pusher her opponent to the cage — but it worked. Carnelossi did well against the cage to get the fight to the mat and once she got the back of Nunes, she had no problem with getting the submission.
Carnelossi will struggle against opponents who have fast counters, better footwork and the ability to control the location of the fight. Nunes was not that opponent.
Aspen Ladd: Aspen Ladd was gifted a main event fight she didn’t earn or deserve and she did nothing with it. To be honest, I think her performance in losing to Norma Dumont lowered her standing in the UFC.
Carlos Felipe: Carlos Felipe looked stunned when Bruce Buffer announced he lost to Andrei Arlovski. He shouldn’t have been. Felipe is a powerful striker, but he needs to focus more on taking advantage of his opponent when he has them hurt. Felipe appears to be more interested in playing to the cameras/fans than he is in getting a finish and that hurt him on Saturday and might have cost him a win.
Ľudovít Klein: Ľudovít Klein needs to look at his loss to Nate Landwehr as a learning experience. Klein did not seem to have the grit of his opponent on Saturday and that might have cost him the fight. Klein needs to get more comfortable in nasty fights where his opponents are more guts and toughness than skill.
Andrew Sanchez: Andrew Sanchez used his wrestling to control the first two rounds of his fight opposite Bruno Silva. During those 10 minutes, he scored seven takedowns on nine attempts and accumulated nearly eight minutes of control time. If UFC fights were 10 minute affairs, Sanchez would have defeated Silva. They aren’t. Sanchez’s cardio failed in the third and Silva knocked him out 2:35 into the final stanza.
Ramazan Emeev: Ramazan Emeev’s showed no sense of urgency in his fight against Danny Roberts. Sure, he’s good at getting the takedown and keeping the fight there, but outside of that, Emeev doesn’t have much going on. His lack of aggression and urgency are probably what cost him this fight.
Brandon Davis: Brandon Davis was on a four-fight winning streak outside the UFC when he stepped into the octagon to face Danaa Batgerel on Saturday. He lasted 121 seconds in his first fight with the promotion since a September 2019 split-decision loss to Giga Chikadze. Davis didn’t have the power or speed to stand with Batgerel and he paid the price for his willingness to stand in the pocket with his opponent.
Istela Nunes: Istela Nunes might be more skilled than Ariane Carnelossi, but that did not matter on Saturday. Nunes allowed Carnelossi to control where the fight took place and she failed to capitalize on opportunities to use counter strikes down the middle when Carnelossi rushed in.
UFC: Judging from social media, this was not one of the most watched (at least not on fight night) UFC cards of 2021. UFC Vegas 40 seemed like a card that was on the schedule simply because the UFC had to deliver content to ESPN on October 16, 2021.
UFC: The fight card is over and it still doesn’t sit well with me that Aspen Ladd was rewarded for missing weight two weeks ago. Sorry.
Michael Bisping: Michael Bisping is one of the most outspoken, couldn’t care less personalities in the UFC. To hear him apologize for doing his job in criticizing Aspen Ladd in the main event seemed incredibly odd. In my opinion it was a nod to the UFC, who (I feel) wanted Ladd to win the fight.
Aspen Ladd’s coach: Jim West did a lot of wondering what Aspen Ladd was doing during her fight opposite Norma Dumont and that’s fine, but he was short on offering any advice of substance to Ladd during the break between rounds. If you want a good contrast, watch Jason Parillo in between rounds with Mackenzie Dern in Dern’s fight last week opposite Marina Rodriguez.