There’s no coating: UFC Vegas 40 is a weak card, at least in terms of name recognition and implications for the contestants.
In fact, this is not entirely true. The de facto main event starring Aspen Ladd and Norma Dumont – reunited following Holly Holm’s injury withdrawal – could actually produce a UFC title challenger, although it’s in the featherweight division that doesn’t. currently does not even have an official ranking. However, if Amanda Nunes succeeds in defending her bantamweight title against Julianna Pena, and decides she wants to return to action soon, she could defend the featherweight title against the winner of Saturday’s main event.
Exciting, I know.
But let’s focus on the positives, of which there are several, beyond the mere chance for UFC recognition and experience fighters to gain some shine.
- Ladd is back! The 26-year-old has not competed for almost two years, mainly due to a knee injury but also due to difficulties with the scale. With 10 extra pounds to play with, Ladd gained weight comfortably on Friday and now has the opportunity to remind us why she’s been one of the best prospects since day one.
Andrei Arlovski and Jim Miller are still cooking! That’s right, the UFC leaders in heavyweight and lightweight appearances both have fights on the main card respectively. Arlovski makes his appearance at UFC No.36, two behind Miller, whose 38th appearance is a promotional record. As pointed out TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, Arlovski and Miller’s 72 appearances in the UFC before Saturday were almost as many as the rest of the card combined; with Julian Marquez vs. Jordan Wright falling on Friday, they actually have more than any other fighters now (66 UFC fights combined).
- History is being written! As far as we know, this is the first time since the UFC presented its ranking that a card has not featured any ranked fighter competing in their assigned division. Ladd is No. 3 at bantamweight in the UFC rankings, but struggles at featherweight. And that’s all.
The card initially featured a fighter in MMA Fighting‘s world rankings, flyweight Sijara Eubanks, ranked No.15, but it was a late scratch this week and has since been replaced by strawweight Lupita Godinez. By the way, Godinez is also making history with the fastest turnaround on record for a UFC fighter, coming from competing and winning last Saturday.
How does it go for a look on the bright side?
What: UFC Vegas 40
When: Saturday October 16. The five-fight preliminary card starts on ESPN + at 4:30 p.m. ET, followed by a five-fight main card on ESPN + at 7 p.m. ET.
Aspen Ladd vs. Norma Dumont
Aspen Ladd is taking a risk here.
It’s understandable that Ladd is anxious to get back into the Octagon as soon as possible after being inactive since December 2019. She has the talent to fight for the bantamweight title and it’s just issues outside of the competition that slowed it down. A win over Norma Dumont at least gets her back into the conversation, whether it’s bantamweight or featherweight.
But Dumont is not child’s play. The striker was to be crushed by Felicia Spencer on his last outing; instead, Dumont controlled the lineup and beat Spencer en route to a split decision victory. If Dumont hadn’t rolled onto her back in third with a failed move attempt, she probably would have won on all three scorecards.
Dumont is a natural featherweight and she’s going to have a size on Ladd, which will make all the difference. Ladd is a pressure fighter who has intimidated his competition at 135 pounds, something that won’t be easy to do against Dumont. Add in the extra weight Ladd will be carrying and you can predict that she will tire early if she can’t finish and lose a decision.
I still love Ladd’s chances because I see her as the best all-around fighter and as improved as Dumont’s ground defense is, she’s always susceptible to being controlled by better athletes. It’s up to Ladd not to get too cute with the hitting, stick to the game plan and bring this one to the mat where she can work her floor and her pound.
It’s a very optimistic choice, but let’s go with Ladd by TKO in the second round.
To take: Ladd
Andrei Arlovski versus. Carlos felipe
I don’t know if Carlos Felipe’s irresistible style is the best way to face Andrei Arlovski. He’s a fun boxer to watch when he finds a rhythm, but he’s yet to find that extra equipment that other promising players in the UFC heavyweight division have shown. We know he can get up and punch, chase his head, and work the body. The question is can he win lousy?
That’s about all Arlovski did in the second stage of his career. When not up against proven finishers, the former UFC heavyweight champion always seems to find a way to reach the scoreboards and, in recent times, defeat the judges. There are undertones of the knockout artist he once was and while those defining moments are rare, Arlovski still has enough pop to hold on to the new generation of great men.
I’m torn here between assuming Felipe finally finds the knockout he was looking for and Arlovski surprising another upstart looking to make a name for himself. Give me the veteran by decision.
To take: Arlovsky
Jim Miller versus Erick González
As mentioned by MMA Junkie, this game features the largest experience gap in UFC history, with Jim Miller having 37 appearances in the Octagon against Erick Gonzalez’s zero. While Miller has the advantage on paper, Gonzalez is incredibly dangerous.
Fighting primarily for Combate Americas, “The Ghost Pepper” developed a reputation as a fierce and gritty competitor. He’s not the most fundamentally solid fighter, but what he lacks in technique he more than makes up for with a deep gas tank and an ability to fight from behind. This last aspect will be heavily taken into account in his fight against Miller, as there is no chance that the light lifer will fall easily.
Skill for skill, you must love Miller here. He has faced every possible scenario in his MMA career and is uniquely positioned to take on a stranger like Gonzalez. Miller won’t overlook Gonzalez’s talent, which is one of the reasons he will find success. The second the bell rings, Miller would have to step in front of Gonzalez and limit his options. Then when the time comes, take him to the ground where he’s given headaches to better fighters than Gonzalez.
As far as Gonzalez goes, it’s a tough draw for anyone in his first UFC fight and I expect Miller to go about business with his submissive skills.
To take: Miller
Manon Fiorot vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
Is this where the hype train Manon Fiorot meets her first big bump?
The hype behind Fiorot is understandable. She has wicked hands and the kind of knockout power that you rarely see at 125 pounds. It’s no exaggeration to say that in terms of sheer potency, she lives up to Jessica Andrade. This is how impressive she is in her professional career so far.
It should be noted that Mayra Bueno Silva fought better competition. Fiorot’s most recent victory was against the undersized Tabatha Ricci (a replacement for Maryna Moroz) and her first UFC victory came against Victoria Leonardo, an unlucky fighter who was the target of several scoring finishes. Winning or losing is an important and potentially revealing fight for Fiorot.
Silva has good submission skills, but I expect this one to be mostly on the feet with “Sheetara” putting his Muay Thai against Fiorot’s boxing. If it were to go to the ground, Fiorot must dodge Silva’s aggressive grappling hook and focus on getting up rather than launching his own attack. If she can, Fiorot will eventually find a home for those murderous hands and rack up another knockout.
To take: Fiorot
Nate landwehr vs. Ludovit Klein
Ludovit Klein’s first loss in the UFC came through a controversial decision, so hopefully that means he’ll be in the mood to take risks to avoid going before the judges again. Because he has a willing dance partner in Nate Landwehr and if both men are careful we could have an instant classic on our hands.
When the UFC signed Landwehr, they knew what they were getting: a bona fide junkyard with little concern for his own safety and always ready to deliver a full 15-minute performance. It won’t be necessary here as I see this one ending in the first or second round.
As fond as I am for Landwehr’s work, Klein is the one I see coming out on top. The Slovakian’s range of rotating kicks and strikes is just too much fun to face. Even though Landwehr has the chin to weather the storm and hits her to deal her fair share of damage, Klein’s precision tips this one in her favor.
It’s time for another Klein knockout header.
To take: Klein
Bruno Silva beat. André Sanchez
Ramazan Emeev defeated Danny Roberts
Lupita Godinez has beaten. Luana Caroline
Brandon Davis defeated Danaa Batgerel
Ariane Carnelossi beat. Istela Nunes