Who saw this coming? Just two short weeks ago Aspen Ladd was Riverdancing on the weigh-in scale, and eventually fell ill due to the weight cut, resulting in a cancellation of her fight. This weekend, Norma Dumont was going to be left without an opponent in the main event after Holly Holm withdrew due to a knee injury.
Who steps in?
You read that right. Aspen Ladd will move up a weight class and take on Norma Dumont, headlining a UFC card that doesn't feature a single ranked fighter (in their weight division) top to bottom. That said, 11 bouts are slated at the UFC Apex this Saturday and it’s a great spot for several up-and-comers to have all eyes on them.
You know the drill, let’s dive in. For the latest MMA betting odds, check out SI Sportsbook.
• DATE: Saturday, October 16
• TIME: Prelims 4 p.m. ET | Main Card 7 p.m. ET
• BROADCAST: ESPN+
• VENUE: UFC APEX
• LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada
• MATCHES: 11
Get fantasy and betting analysis in your inbox by signing up for the Winners Club newsletter: SI.com/newsletters
MAIN CARD HOT TAKES, PREDICTIONS & BETS
Ladd makes her second attempt at a return from a 22-month layoff while recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. She got the short-notice call but a bump up to 145 should help her weight hiccup from two weeks ago. Dumont was prepped and ready to roll against former champ Holly Holm, so she should be ready for Ladd.
Big spot for both fighters here, with Ladd looking to solidify her spot as one of the sport’s next rising stars. She'll have a tough task in beating Norma Dumont. Dumont is coming in after winning two straight, which includes her last fight against former title challenger Felicia Spencer.
Ladd’s time away from the octagon, coupled with the fact that she’s pretty vulnerable to attack, will work in Dumont’s favor while on the feet, as well as her 67% strike defense while throwing volume comparable to Ladd. In all but one of Ladd’s UFC fights, she was matched or out-struck, and timely takedowns helped her cause. Dumont should be tougher to bring down than some of Ladd's past opponents, and her ability to connect on the feet more than Ladd should be there.
Prediction: Norma Dumont
Bet: Dumont +115
If you know me, you know I’m not the biggest Carlos Felipe fan. He had somewhat of a padded record coming into the UFC, and lost his debut. He then rattled off three straight wins, including two questionable split decisions in his last two outings. He’s a big talker during fights and likes to play mind games, sucking his opponents into his wheelhouse, which happens to be simply standing and trading.
I gotta hand it to Felipe, as he’s never been finished and is pretty durable, despite a negative striking differential. This matchup has him taking a step up in competition, where he’ll look across at former champ and 53-fight vet Andrei Arlovski.
Arlovski is 42 years young, and has made some changes at the tail end of his career, keeping him out of wars while taking a more defensive approach. Watch for Arlovski to pick some spots to pounce while frustrating Felipe, who will be attempting over and over to engage in a brawl. I don’t see any way Arlovski gets sucked into Felipe’s tactics. If anything, he’ll stay very technical and pick Felipe apart with body shots, controlling his volume as needed along the way. Even at this age, I still believe Arlovski will have the speed advantage and will land—not necessarily more—but the bigger shots in this fight.
Prediction: Andrei Arlovski
Bet: Arlovski (look via DEC +175)
Miller is making his 38th UFC walk while Gonzalez is making his debut. Slight experience advantage for Miller you’d have to say? Gonzalez is riding a two-fight win streak and he got the call here. If you look at his resume, he’s struggled with UFC-caliber fighters. Miller is a huge step up in competition, and although Miller has shown he gasses a bit when fights go late, I highly doubt Gonzalez is going to be taking Miller down and out-grappling him here. The Miller via submission prop seems too easy.
Prediction: Jim Miller
Bet: Miller (look via SUB +250)
We’ve recommended—and bet—Fiorot since her debut, and it appears everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. Fiorot looked incredible in her first two UFC fights, but this will be a tougher test, so it will be interesting to see if she continues her dominance. I expect Fiorot to come out more calculated and patient, doing enough to win rounds, compared to her massive output in volume against her last two opponents. Fiorot averages more strikes landed per minute (8.00) than any other fighter on this card, while Bueno Silva absorbs about five.
Prediction: Manon Fiorot
I’m not sold on “The Beverly Hills Ninja” even after his impressive finish against Jamie Pickett in his last outing. Wright is a big dude and can do some damage with just single shots, and an ability to land kicks, elbows and strikes from a distance at any moment. Marquez is a finisher himself (100% finish rate), and usually comes out pretty aggressive. He'll need to definitely pick his spots and close the distance with a counter after Wright’s attempts. Marquez’s durability in comparison to Wright will be the difference maker. Marquez has only really struggled against fighters that close and take him down. Wright has never landed a takedown in four fights under the UFC banner. You know what side I’m on.
Prediction: Julian Marquez
Bet: Marquez (look ITD -150)
BRUNO SILVA defeats ANDREW SANCHEZ
RAMAZAN EMEEV defeats DANNY ROBERTS
LUPITA GODINEZ defeats LUANA CAROLINA
L’UDOVIT KLEIN defeats NATE LANDWEHR
BRANDON DAVIS defeats DANAA BATGEREL
ISTELA NUNES defeats ARIANE CARNELOSSI
Arlovski (look via DEC +175)
Miller (look via SUB +250)
Miller/Gonzalez UNDER 2.5 Rounds +125
Marquez (look ITD -150)
Add third leg: Miller +161
Add fourth leg: Fiorot +265
UFC PREDICTION & WAGER RECORD
2021 predictions: 222-141-7 (61%)
2021 wagers: 118-94-2 (56%)
Predictions: 603-340-18 (64%)
Wagers: 328-181-8 (64%)
We’ve gone 19-2 in our last 21 combat sports wagers. That said, I’m interested to see how all these dog plays do this weekend. Good luck, everyone, and I hope to see some of you cashing after Saturday night!
More Betting & Fantasy: