UFC Vegas 80: JJ Aldrich Sets Pace, Leads Dance, Secures Win Over Montana De La Rosa

Montana De La Rosa and JJ Aldrich, UFC Vegas 80
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 07: (R-L) JJ Aldrich punches Montana De La Rosa in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on October 07, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Powers/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Kicking off the UFC Vegas 80 card, women’s flyweights Montana De La Rosa and JJ Aldrich were former training partners putting pleasantries aside for 15 minutes or less.

Aldrich had jumped into the fight on short notice after defeating Na Liang at UFC Singapore back in August. De La Rosa, meanwhile, had dropped her last two bouts.

In an opening minute low on action and high on testing range, De La Rosa at least fired a couple of kicks. Aldrich slowly stepped forward, but De La Rosa opened up and fired back.

Aldrich, however, would remain persistent, working her jab, and near the midway mark, she ducked a right hand and grabbed a body lock. She could not land the takedown, however. Back at center, Aldrich continued to walk forward, while De La Rosa picked her spots, exploding at times and going high with a kick. In the final minute, De La Rosa grabbed a Thai clinch, landed a knee, and followed it up with a head kick that, even if partially blocked, made an impact.

Round two saw more jabs flowing from Aldrich, who also started getting her own kicks going. She had a slight edge in speed; De La Rosa continued to play the counter game, but was showing some redness around the face. Through two rounds, no a takedown had been landed, nor had De La Rosa even attempted one.

De La Rosa shot from the outside early in round three, but was too far out, with Aldrich easily pulling free. They’d end up clinching briefly, with De La Rosa firing an elbow off the break. But Aldrich’s workmanlike, steady pressure had been serving her well; De La Rosa had been showing redness in the second, by the third, a few lumps and bumps were forming. A left hand hit home for Aldrich, who found success with her 1-2 as well. The action picked up a little towards the end of the third, with De La Rosa hitting the body and firing some elbows over the top. But Aldrich’s consistency had been key, she’d set the pace, led the dance, and secured the win.

Official Result: JJ Aldrich def. Montana De La Rosa by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)