Aspen Ladd made short work of former Invicta FC champion Tonya Evinger on Saturday at UFC 229, earning the most impressive win of her career.
Undefeated bantamweight Aspen Ladd was one of the last fighters to hit the scales at Friday’s official weigh-ins for UFC 229. When she did, she weighed in with a barrier. Ladd, who has had a history of weight struggles, looked drained. She had blown weight in April at UFC Atlantic City, leading to her fight with Leslie Smith falling through. This time, she made it, but how she’d look against former Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger was another matter.
Evinger, however, was returning from a lengthy injury layoff, something she opened up about to Cageside Press ahead of the fight.
In the end, Ladd had no issues. The pair threw hands early, with Evinger initiating a clinch, and backing Ladd up against the fence. While Evinger controlled initially, in a scramble, Ladd took her to the ground and began landing some heavy shots while controlling one of Evinger’s wrists. Ladd continued to bash away with hammer fists, perhaps setting up the former Invicta champion for a rear-naked choke. Ladd worked to get her hooks in, which she finally did with just over two minutes remaining in the frame. More hammer fists followed, then elbows behind the ear from the back. Evinger held on as long as she could, but had nowhere to go, forcing the ref to call the fight.
For Ladd, the fight was not only an impressive display of aggression but frankly the biggest win of her career. If she can consistently make 135lbs without issue, she has a bright future in the UFC’s bantamweight ranks.
Aspen Ladd def. Tonya Evinger by TKO, Round 1, 3:26