5 burning questions heading into UFC on ESPN+ 13

A fight that could determine the next challenger for Amanda Nunes’ bantamweight title and the return of a legend are the highlights of UFC on ESPN+ 13.

Undefeated Aspen Ladd meets former featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie in the main event, while UFC Hall of Famer and former WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber returns from a retirement of two-and-a-half years to meet Ricky Simon in the co-main event.

But that’s not all that’s interesting on the card. UFC on ESPN+ 13 takes place Saturday at Golden1 Center in Sacramento, Calif., and streams entirely on ESPN+.

Let’s take a look at five burning questions heading into the event.

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Is Aspen Ladd the next one at 135 pounds?

The UFC needs to build a new legitimate contender in the women’s bantamweight division now that champ Nunes has all but cleaned house.

Ladd (8-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) just might be the fighter who fits the bill. And in former featherweight champ de Randamie (8-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC), she finally has an opponent who will allow her to show where she really belongs.

The undefeated 24-year old bantamweight from Northern California has been on quite a tear. Ladd’s first two UFC fights were TKO wins over former headliner Lina Lansberg and former Invicta champion Tonya Evinger.

Ladd wanted to fight a big name next and was linked to a bout with Holly Holm before the UFC yanked the matchup away from her and put together Holm’s UFC 239 bout with Nunes instead. Ladd then took a “Fight of the Night” in a May rematch against Sijara Eubanks, the only competitor who has taken Ladd the distance.

After that roundabout route, Ladd finally has the date with the elite she needs to state her case. While de Randamie mainly will be remembered by her unfortunate choice to walk away from the featherweight title rather than defend it against Cris Cyborg, she’s still otherwise put together a solid career and remains one of the sport’s top competitors.

Nunes could choose to defend her featherweight belt next, which means even with an impressive performance, Ladd might still need another fight before getting a title shot. But a win here marks her for sure as the next rising star at 135.

1 week ago

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