Aspen Ladd vs. Germaine de Randamie: An Underrated Brawl

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.

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Not a great start to any fight.

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.

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Ladd showed that she can be rather passive in striking and backed up.
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However, she shows promise. Notice how Ladd is willing to throw in combination and sneak in a right to the body.

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.

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Because she was willing to strike with Lansberg, Lansberg felt she could sit on her punches and was taken down as a result.

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.

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Ladd will always look to control and consolidate good positioning before striking.

However, Ladd ultimately wants to flatten her opponent out and smash them.

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Nasty power when she gets back mount.

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.

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Ladd first fights the waist lock by attacking one arm, by doubling up with both her hands she broke the grip. After that, Eubanks attempted another takedown but a guillotine forced her back to the mat.
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Ladd showed that she can get clinch takedowns and that she was more aware of how much control she can get from the body lock.
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Another nice sequence, where Ladd breaks Eubank’s posture by using the body lock and gets the takedown.

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.

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Ladd has a great chin, however taking this many shots from a hook winging Eubanks is not good.

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.

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Ladd also has a tendency to plod forwards, this gave Eubanks the perfect timing to come in with combinations and duck out.

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.

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Notice, how Ladd makes the right call initially. She hooks after Eubank’s right hand stinging her with a left hook. However, she stays in boxing range afterward with no head movement.
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Here Ladd clearly shows, that she’s working on head movement and wants to incorporate it in her game.

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.

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Pay attention to the boxes. Edgar widens his stance and goes front foot first, then back foot. This facilitates a strong base. The key principle here is that with a wider stance Ladd can move forwards with ease but also have the base to move her head.

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.

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De Randamie also tends to overextend if she feels that she can land on her punch.
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Notice how hard she has to wind up for every right hand.

De Randamie can also be measured and look to counter. She did exactly that against, the overly eager Holm.

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Some good patience and foresight for De Randamie to land the punch.

However, where de Randamie makes her hay is in the clinch.

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Because of her height, breaking down the posture of her opponents is easy. It also makes raising her knee to their solar plexus even easier.

De Randamie loves the double collar-tie, and using her long arms, she can grab hold and spear her opponents with knees.

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Even with a knee shield, de Randamie can sneak her knee around Pennington’s raised knee. Something you can do when you’re far taller

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.

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Notice how de Randamie paws with her jab and then lets loose with the right only when she sees the opening.

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.

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De Randamie was easily mounted and pounded out by Nunes. Compared to Ladd, you can see Ladd doing the exact same thing to De Randamie.

Conclusion 

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.

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