Prime Picks: UFC Fight Night 195 ‘Ladd vs. Dumont’

By: Jay Pettry
Oct 15, 2021

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No ranked fighters will appear on the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship offering, at least not in the division in which they are scheduled to compete. Some cash and laughs are still bound to be had at the expense of this filler event, with a headliner that may yet turn into a coinflip before the week is out. There is no mistaking UFC Fight Night 195 for a solid card on paper, but two well-established vets and a 185-pound collision destined for a finish round out this edition of Prime Picks.

Norma Dumont (+115)

This pick could fall apart quickly should Aspen Ladd get her powerful wrestling going and plant the Brazilian firmly on her back for the better part of a round. At 75%, Ladd celebrates one of the highest takedown accurate rates among all women, although the sample size is relatively limited after going 6-for-8 in five appearances dating back to 2017. Whether that sheer power translates up a division remains to be seen, but it will undoubtedly run into a brick wall that is Dumont and her own 100% takedown defense rate. A nearly unstoppable force will meet a mostly immovable object, but the numbers on both sides may not hold up after five rounds. With Dumont the more comfortable featherweight, relatively speaking, she should hold the edge to spring an upset.

Ladd is unquestionably falling upwards in her latest trajectory, going from yet another botched weight cut prior taking on Macy Chiasson to a main event slot in a few short weeks. It is nearly impossible to determine Ladd’s condition at the moment, as she may still be recovering from an incident less than two weeks ago that saw her shaking and wobbling on the scale so much that it took several minutes to register her weight. The Californian will still need to go through another substantial weight cut, as her walk-around weight can hover around 160 pounds or higher. Ten pounds can make the difference, but two harsh weight cuts in the span of two weeks is something even fighters on “The Ultimate Fighter” dread—which is why many of them appear on the show one or two categories above their normal weight class. It is not yet a foregone conclusion that Ladd will be able to make weight at 145 pounds, which is shocking in itself.

On the other hand, Dumont planned on fighting at featherweight, albeit against a drastically different opponent in ex-champion Holly Holm. Going from a rangy kickboxer to an in-your-face grappler will require a bit of an adjustment, but Dumont can match her strength and land shots to irritate Ladd. Dumont shut down former title challenger Felicia Spencer for much of their fight, and when her energy started to fade in the third round, she dragged the action to the mat. Cardio will be the enemy of both women in this main event, and it might transform into the female equivalent of a dragging heavyweight slopfest should the two reach the championship rounds.

Should Ladd succeed in the early going with takedowns—planting the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt on her back and keeping her there—it could be her fight to win. Much of this contest may wind up along the wall, with Ladd looking to wrench down Dumont while the Brazilian aims to break free and string together one-twos and follow them with big right hands. Confidence in picking either woman is not terribly high, but the victor could be a win away from a title opportunity at 145 pounds should she decide not to make the poor choice of shifting back to bantamweight. There are simply too many questions as to how Ladd will fare so recently removed from the sight fans and media watched unfold on Oct. 1. As an underdog with some intangibles in her favor, Dumont is worth tossing some coin down. It could be a rough one, capping off a less-than-stellar 11-fight offering.

Andrei Arlovski-Carlos Felipe Goes to Decision (-170)

The year is 2021, and Arlovski—a man who held the UFC heavyweight belt back in 2005—is co-headlining a UFC card. This move was more or less intentional, but for the loss of Ketlen Vieira-Miesha Tate as the original main event and then Holm’s replacement option against Dumont. Whether this is the fourth or fifth iteration of the first man on the major stage known as “The Pit Bull,” Arlovski still finds life in this division after being written off more times than a charitable exemption. He will face Felipe, likely without any ranking stakes on the line. The Brazilian’s power has not shown up since he smashed Campbell’s soup analogues with dazzling 0-2 or 1-1 records when facing them. This heavyweight scrap has all the makings of one that goes the distance, and this line is appropriate and fair.

It can neither be confirmed nor denied that Arlovski is a benefactor of the controversial medical procedure known as Chin Replacement Therapy—hereby known as CRT and not to be confused with cathode-ray tube screens—but a hellacious blow from Jairzinho Rozenstruik and the rampage of Francis Ngannou, first ascent, are his lone knockout losses in the last five years. Beyond that, Arlovski has stood tall, overrelying on his boxing while all but completely abandoning his International Master of Sport knowhow in sambo at the ripe age of 42. On the other hand, the 26-year-old called “Boi” has slogged his way through the competition doing just enough on the feet to get by, snagging middling and sometimes contentious decisions over Yorgan De Castro, Justin Tafa and Jake Collier. This is not the time where Felipe punches his ticket to greater glory by punching out Arlovski, and it is equally unlikely that the Belarussian scores his first stoppage since 2015 against the Brazilian. Going to decision is a safe option, one far safer than trying to determine which Arlovski shows up.

Jim Miller Wins Inside Distance (+230)

This lightweight “featured fight” will bring the greatest discrepancy of Octagon experience in history, as Miller is a 38-fight UFC veteran and Erick Gonzalez has never once stepped foot inside the Octagon. Many expected that Gonzalez, a longtime Combate Global vet, would need to fight through Dana White’s Contender Series to earn a spot on the roster, but instead, he was simply plucked from the oft-maligned league and not even on short notice. The promotion is not doing “The Ghost Pepper” any favors by pairing him with Miller, as the New Jerseyan fights like he is shot out of a cannon; each of Gonzalez’s stoppage losses have come early.

Since overcoming Thiago Alves nearly five years ago, Miller has not recorded a win any later than 145 seconds into a round. All of his wins in that span came by first-round submission, with decisions and a shocking knee from Dan Hooker slowing down the 38-year-old New Jersey native. Like Arlovski, Miller is being utilized as the grizzled veteran trying to determine for the UFC whether a prospect is worthy of consideration. Based on Gonzalez’s struggles at UFC-level opposition compared to him walking through the likes of Oziel Rodriguez Lopez or Won Sik Park, Miller is the worst type of opponent he can face at this juncture. Miller, who still hopes to have one final stand in him, can get back on the winning track while keeping that stoppage-or-bust streak alive. As a substantial favorite already, Miller getting out of there early at high plus money is too good to pass up. The lines of Miller by submission are few and far between, while most books carry the prop of “A-10” getting the job done inside the distance. The line of Miller by submission sits at +240 according to one book, while this line allows for a possible stoppage from strikes without losing much of anything. The counter line is that Gonzalez wins at the hands of the judges, which is a substantial +412 and worth snagging should you not believe in Miller any longer.

Julian Marquez Wins Inside Distance (-137)

It should almost go without saying that this fight will not make it to the hands of the judges. Two hard-charging middleweights with 100% finish rates will be slamming into one another with the ability to submit or knock each other out cold. Both come in as part of the DWCS smash-’em-up derby, with the UFC hoping that one elite fighter is separated from the chaff. While the overall safest bet on the card likely comes with the fight ending inside the distance, the line of -335 is high enough that the value is still there but has been picked clean, much like the overall lineup of this show. Instead, the momentum should lean towards Marquez, who is back in 2021 with a vengeance, powering through better opposition than Jordan Wright has ever faced.

It is unfair to look at Wright and compare him to other, more legitimately earned fighters with gaudy 12-1 records when staring at his early opposition before he joined the Legacy Fighting Alliance ranks. The first eight victories for “The Beverly Hills Ninja” came over seven men who combined for an astonishing record of 1-38. This is a man who demolished an 0-5 jobber named Toby at an event called “Taco” in 2015. Compare that to Marquez, who, in his third career bout, faced an unbeaten 4-0 test that turned him away. That one opponent, Chris Harris, had more credibility than Wright’s entire slate leading up to his Legacy Fighting Alliance match with Craig Wilkerson at 8-0. Strength of schedule is not the ultimate predictor, as some fighters like Giga Chikadze and Taila Santos have honed their skills on the less technically inclined and risen to the occasion, but there is a major difference: Marquez has battled through adversity, while Wright has wilted. Whether by tapout or strikes, “The Cuban Missile Crisis” will explode into his third win in a row and make a case for a Top 15 fighter next.

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