UFC Vegas 40 main event: Norma Dumont beats Aspen Ladd in jab heavy staring contest

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norma dumont, ufc vegas 40
Feb 29, 2020; Norfolk, Virginia, USA; Megan Anderson (red gloves) fights Norma Dumont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chartway Arena. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Norma Dumont fought a strategically smart fight that was completely effective in beating Aspen Ladd in their women’s featherweight main event UFC Vegas 40. It was just the least entertaining fight on the entire card, but it wasn’t all her fault.

The first round of a high-level MMA matchup, especially one in the headliner of a UFC card, can understandably be fairly quiet. The two fighters are respectful of the other’s talents and take a careful approach to get a sense of what the other plans to do to each other strategically. And Dumont (7-1) versus Ladd (9-2) was very much that for the first five minutes.

Norma Dumont beats Aspen Ladd in forgettable UFC Vegas 40 main event

Dumont worked off of a jab as she looked to keep her opponent at bay. While Ladd tried to find a good entry point to employ her patented wrestling, and get the fight to the ground where she would have some advantages. Unfortunately, that wasn’t just how the first round went, it was how the majority of the 25-minute bout would proceed.

Round one to three were pretty much a rinse and repeat for the 31-year-old Brazilian. She effectively used her jab. Threw a few combos. Offered up no kicks to give something Ladd could catch and turn into a takedown. And then stuffed any takedown attempts that the Californian sought out.

The true highlight of the fight was Ladd’s coach, Jim West, openly airing his frustrations. Telling the ranked bantamweight, “I don’t know what you’re doing” several times in between rounds. And that was an understandable response from the coach. As Ladd — a fighter known for entertaining fights — was surprisingly gun shy throughout the fight.

That could possibly be chalked up to her opponent’s jab and control of range. However, the 26-year-old rarely took major risks, even when her coach told her winning on the cards was out of the question. The fourth and fifth-round only differed from the first three in that Ladd was able to get Dumont against the cage in the clinch. However, like the rest of the fight, she was ineffective there and eventually was taken back to the previously scheduled program of a Brazilian jab clinic.

To the surprise of no one, Dumont was awarded the unanimous decision victory. The win is her third straight and likely will get her a title fight against champion Amanda Nunes in a barely their weight class.

For Ladd, she seems in limbo. She took this fight on two weeks’ notice after missing weight for her 135-pound fight two weeks ago at UFC Vegas 38. Her debut at featherweight and first main event opportunity were entirely forgettable. Bantamweight is probably her best weight, but her track record in weight-cutting makes that a dicey situation. She could be a contender at featherweight, but that could be said about most solid bantamweights that move up to the division.

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