On July 13th, 2019, Aspen Ladd will be taking on Germaine de Randamie (GDR) in Sacramento. The fight for Ladd will be a test of her growing skill set, if any of her glaring weaknesses still exist, they must be stamped out. For de Randamie, this is a fight to show off what makes her great, against a fighter who she matches up quite well against.
I’m going to discuss what makes this fight interesting and an underrated brawl. Both fighters have true finishing ability, and their styles contrast nicely. Furthermore, if each fighter wants to win, they need to dig deep into their strengths and patch up their faults.
Improving with the Ladd(s)
The name of the game for Aspen Ladd is wrestling. She needs to take fights down to the ground in order to later pound her opponent’s lights out. Ladd, however, tends to start fights timid and against her recent opponent Sijara Eubanks, she was flung around as a result.
However, Ladd has a good chin and a willingness to swing. For a grappling prospect, this is important as familiarity with striking can give way to grappling. Against Lina Lansberg, she looked to work in combinations, but was lit up and dragged into the clinch as a result.
Ladd looked eager to get a body lock in the clinch and drag Lansberg down. Instead, Ladd was able to get a lovely timed takedown and pound Lansberg out.
When Ladd gets her takedown, she looks immediately to get a dominant position to strike. Against, Tonya Evinger, Ladd would grab onto Evinger’s wrist from back control and land punches from behind.
However, Ladd ultimately wants to flatten her opponent out and smash them.
Clearly ground and pound has been Ladd’s strength. She has great power in her hands and comfort in grappling. Returning to her rough start against Eubanks, Ladd was able to reverse position quickly and out grappled Eubanks throughout the fight.
Ladd clearly showed that she had improved her clinch game, by actively searching for the body lock, maintaining control of the clinch, and using knees to soften her opponent. However, in the same fight, Ladd showed that she had glaring holes in her striking.
Ladd tends to keep her head straight up, and while her hands are at her chin, the small gloves don’t protect much of the face.
However, for an experimenting striker with a good chin, Ladd is willing to punch in combinations. If Ladd can learn to add some head movement, she can be a difficult wrestle-boxer to deal with.
If Ladd wants to improve, she would need to add some better footwork. As seen from the GIF above, Ladd’s footwork is lacking. She plods and doesn’t carry move her feet to set up her punches nor to use head movement. An example she could follow is Frankie Edgar, a wrestler who can string together pressure and aggression.
This isn’t to say that Ladd will go this direction or she will come close to it. It’s more of a suggestion towards her growth as a fighter. Still, she has a lot of work to do and de Randamie has the tools to exploit her weaknesses.
The Iron Lady
Germaine de Randamie has been an interesting fighter, to say the least. Two years ago she was the inaugural featherweight champion but vacated the belt due to a multitude of reasons. Since then, she won a lopsided fight over Raquel Pennington and has only competed for once every year since 2011.
The name of the game for de Randamie is kickboxing. She is incredibly tall and long, which gives her a built in advantage in every striking match. De Randamie is also incredibly right-handed. In any given striking exchange, she wants to hurt you with the right, and the left is purely set up.
De Randamie can also be measured and look to counter. She did exactly that against, the overly eager Holm.
However, where de Randamie makes her hay is in the clinch.
De Randamie loves the double collar-tie, and using her long arms, she can grab hold and spear her opponents with knees.
De Randamie can find herself out-grappled in the clinch. This might sound odd, but against the weaker Pennington, she struggled to keep Pennington from holding her down in the clinch.
Pennington, simply by shoving her head into de Randamie’s neck, was able to keep her on the fence for some time
Still, de Randamie showed that if she is measured, the plodding Pennington was easy-work to punch around her guard and force her back.
It is likely that if de Randamie can keep her distance and throw light combinations, she can work down Ladd. However, de Randamie has shown that she wants nothing to do with the ground game. De Randamie can seem clueless when taken down.
This is an interesting matchup for both fighters. Where they excel, the other struggles deeply with. Therefore, I think this will likely be an exciting matchup. Ladd has a good chin and it will likely be tested hard against de Randamie.
However, de Randamie has shown growth in her takedown defense, but Pennington is not a particularly strong wrestler. De Randamie needs to show that she won’t overswing when she has Ladd hurt. De Randamie will likely drop Ladd, however, if she overextends, it is likely Ladd will take her down and quickly finish her.
There is a lot of “ifs” in this fight. If Ladd comes out with improved footwork and head movement, it is likely we will see Ladd working her way into the clinch and mauling de Randamie. However, if de Randamie has gained more urgency to get off the fence, she will likely hurt Ladd in the striking. Furthermore, Ladd can be passive in the clinch, which will lead to some easy knees for de Randamie.
Regardless, this is a fight that will test style matchups. A young prospect and a seasoned veteran. Both have shown good conditioning and good chins. This fight will likely be a brawl as a result, therefore it is fair to call it, an underrated brawl.