UFC on ESPN+ 53: Ladd vs Dumont - Predictions - 10/16/21
Aspen Ladd vs. Norma Dumont
I probably shouldn’t write a word about Aspen Ladd until she’s actually walking to the cage but whatever, fool me 4 times, shame on me. She at least didn’t collapse on the scale this time.
Ladd is hyper aggressive and will close the gap to try and get things to the mat where she does her best work. She is coming off a decent hiatus due to MCL and ACL injuries but before that she got a TKO finish over Yana Kunitskaya. It should be noted that she dropped Kunitskaya while they were on the feet so she has some power as well. Most of her other finishes have come by way of ground and pound.
Dumont’s octagon debut didn’t go as planned as she was melted by Megan Anderson but has since defeated Ashlee Evans-Smith and Felicia Spencer to get back on track. If it stays on the feet Dumont will seemingly have the edge whereas if it hits the mat, Ladd will steal rounds. That’s not really a groundbreaking announcement by any stretch but at least we can break down the likelihood of both paths to victory. Ladd’s aggression and poor striking defense will certainly get her into trouble against a powerful counter puncher like Dumont (Disclaimer - I say powerful as her shots look like they have some oomph but she has in fact never finished anyone by KO/TKO). Not that Dumont is a world beater on the feet, she will certainly get touched by Ladd, especially since Ladd has developed the tendency to keep throwing even when she’s getting hit. But countering on the feet is where Dumont will feel most comfortable.
Regarding the takedowns, it’s a tough call. Dumont has a perfect 100% takedown defense rating but that is the result of an extremely small sample size. Her last opponent was more of a grappler but Spencer usually lands body lock trips and Dumont was able to defend those with solid clinch work and quick separation. Ladd will more than likely drop for a single and run the pipe as she presses her opponent against the cage. I feel like she won't have much success here but if she drags Dumont down inside the first minute then you can toss this pick out the window.
Couple x factors here but probably not big enough to really sway things but I’ll mention them anyway. This will be contested at 145 and Dumont may have a very slight edge in strength. Moreso as evidenced by how well she shrugged off the very large, Felicia Spencer (and not so much by Ladd going up a division as repeated scale fails have shown that featherweight is probably where she belongs). Dumont was also training for a 5 round fight previously where Ladd had a disastrous weight cut for a 3 round fight two weeks ago. Although I honestly don’t think that will be any sort of factor in Dumont’s favor since Ladd has the higher finishing rate and will get 10 additional minutes in which to exploit that. A pretty tough fight to call honestly but I’m going to side with Dumont by a hair to squeak out a decision in a pretty awful main event.
Prediction: Norma Dumont
Andrei Arlovski vs. Carlos Felipe
Andrei Arlovski 9.0 is back as he has fully welcomed the gatekeeper role in the heavyweight division. Routinely turning away prospects like Chase Sherman, Tanner Boser, and Phillipe Lins. The man doesn’t really need a big introduction as even the most casual fan probably saw him in the cage at least once. He’s taking on Carlos Felipe, yet another durable striker who has never gone for a takedown in his life. He’s 3 and 1 in the UFC but two of those wins have come by split decision in very close fights.
No one is going to be terribly shocked if Arlovski gets clipped behind the ear and finished by a man 20 years his junior. This fight is going to play out entirely on the feet with two 240+ pound men throwing hands so it’s certainly a very real possibility. Sidenote - Felipe weighed in at a massive 259 pounds which I don't think really works in his favor since he looks like he could make light heavy with a bit of diet and discipline.
I give the edge in technique to Arlovski but Felipe is a durable heavyweight who throws a lot of volume so simply being around for 15 minutes and throwing a lot really works in the Brazilian’s favor. If Felipe doesn’t get the finish then I actually see this being incredibly close, possibly even another split decision. However, Arlovski has found ways to outscore his opponents on such a regular basis during his latest reimagining which is a result of the work at American Top Team. He’s going to need to come into this fight in great cardiovascular shape and at least match the output of Felipe. He did just that in his last fight against Sherman where he landed over 100 strikes so I’m going to lean his way here to do it again. Full disclosure though, Arlovski is one of my favorite fighters of all time so I’m sure my brain is pushing this pick in that direction subconsciously. Don’t care, WAR Pitbull.
Prediction: Andrei Arlovski
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