Aspen Ladd vs. Julia Budd Set for PFL 2022 Championships

Aspen Ladd and Norma Dumont, UFC Vegas 40
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 16: (L-R) Aspen Ladd punches Norma Dumont of Brazil in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

PFL featherweights Julia Budd and Aspen Ladd will compete in the pay-per-view main card opener of the championship event on November 25.

While she’s expected to take part in an upstart women’s featherweight division under the PFL banner next year, Aspen Ladd will make her promotional debut with the league next month.

Ladd (9-3) is set to take on former Bellator MMA women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd (16-4) at the PFL 2022 Championships on November 25, 2022 in New York City. MMA Mania was first to report news of the booking.

PFL officials later announced the news on social media.

Aspen Ladd enters the bout on a two fight skid and will be making her promotional debut after departing from the UFC after five years. After missing weight for a fight with Sara McMann in the UFC last month, her third miss in the promotion, Ladd was released by the company, and almost immediately signed by the PFL. Despite some success early in her UFC run, however, Ladd’s time with the company will be most remembered for her struggles at the scale. Those struggles date all the way back to UFC Atlantic City in 2018, when a miss at the scales resulted in a fight with Leslie Smith falling through.

Going back further, Ladd missed the bantamweight limit for a 2016 Invicta FC fight. She dabbled with featherweight later in her UFC career, losing a decision to Norma Dumont last year (following health concerns after missing weight for a bout the week prior) before returning to 135lbs in April, only to lose another decision, this time to Raquel Pennington.

November’s match-up will come at featherweight, with Budd returning to the weight class for the first time since April of 2021. Her past two bouts have come in the PFL’s 155lb division, where she has posted a 1-1 record.

Budd (16-4) is looking to poise herself for a strong 2023 season as she welcomes the former UFC prospect to the PFL. The former Bellator champion entered the PFL with high expectations after entering the promotion on a two fight win-streak and a successful debut in 2021. However, a loss to Genah Fabian in her season opener and a subsequent injury that forced her from the tournament (and a high profile bout with Kayla Harrison) slowed her momentum.  Like Ladd, a strong victory on Saturday for Budd would poise her as the odds on favorite for the regular season next year or to secure a shot against Harrison in the pay-per-view series if that’s what she chooses.

In an interview with MMA Fighting, Ladd said that the bout is expected to open the pay-per-view main card on November 25.

In addition to Aspen Ladd vs. Julia Budd, the PFL 2022 Championships, at the Hulu Theater in New York, NY, will feature all six world championship bouts to close out this year’s PFL season. The card marks the promotion’s debut on PPV.