The UFC is back with UFC ESPN+ 13 featuring Aspen Ladd vs. Germaine de Randamie on Saturday night. This card has a few interesting fights throughout, but we will focus on the three biggest fights on the card that will round out the night in Sacramento.
Ladd vs. de Randamie
The commission doctor in Sacramento just cleared Aspen Ladd to fight tomorrow, I’m told. They checked her out after she was visibly shaking on her way to the scale. She successfully made weight.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 12, 2019
Ladd is a -160 favorite compared to de Randamie’s +130, and I think that is an incredibly interesting line based on what seems to be public opinion. I think that the general notion around the industry is that this is a bad line, but I am targeting Ladd in this fight for a few reasons.
Ladd has the better ground and pound, and she is also the stronger athlete here. The difficulty here is that de Randamie that stuffed her last 22 takedowns. The difference here is that de Randamie is getting older, while Ladd is growing into her prime, and I am skeptical about that stat as a whole.
de Randamie refused to fight to defend her belt and then struggled a bit late in her next fight. Ladd is elite on the ground and should look to get the fight there much more than her last few opponents. Once Ladd gets de Randamie to the ground, I think the grind will begin, and I think that the five-round gas tank will really help Ladd get over the hump.
Ladd is a very tough woman and should be improving as she grows as a fighter. She has gotten hit a lot by strikers worse the de Randamie, but I think she will show up improved to some degree, and I think she has shown us that she can take a beating and eventually gain control and prevail.
I like Ladd -160, and I will think about sprinkling a little bit on the late finish from Ladd in the last few rounds. If Ladd can get control in the second or third round, I think it will zap the gas tank enough to even open the lanes for a finish in the fourth or fifth.
Simon vs. Faber
This fight is going to be very interesting, simply because I don’t know what to expect. Urijah Faber is a 40-year-old fighter that is coming off of a long retirement that really didn’t look like it was ever going to end. Faber is a leader more than he is a great fighter, and I have no confidence that he has truly bought into this fight.
On the other hand, Ricky Simon is a -345 favorite against a very knowledgeable and skilled fighter. Faber’s moves and techniques are now old news, but I just really question Simon’s fight IQ and ability to take advantage of his physical abilities over Faber.
If I had to pick a fighter here, I lean towards Faber at the long odds because I think it’s possible that Simon fights a horribly structured fight against someone that knows he must fight very smart and tactically to win. If you want to side with Simon, I would take a prop on him winning by decision to lighten the odds a good bit.
Bektic vs. Emmett
Mirsad Bektic is a -165 favorite in this spot, and I think this is just too high in this spot. Bektic and Josh Emmett are relatively scary opponents, and I think that they should be priced the same way. Bektic is the better striker, while Emmett would likely come out on top in the ground game. The kicker here is that Emmett has been able to handle a punch and has been elite late in fights where Bektic seems to fade.
I think that Emmett is a great price play here at +135, and I also like the Emmett KO in the third round props for big odds. I expect Emmett to eventually take over this fight and then never look back in the second or third round.