UFC Fight Night: De Randamie vs. Ladd Preview

A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in Sacramento, Calif.

Updated: July 10, 2019 • 8:21 PM ET

urijah faber.jpg

Urijah Faber is looking to add another win to his Hall of Fame resume.

The UFC will return to Sacramento, Calif. this Saturday, featuring a women’s bantamweight bout with title implications and the return of a Hall of Famer. In the main event, No. 1 ranked bantamweight Germaine de Randamie will battle undefeated rising contender and No. 4 ranked Aspen Ladd. In the co-main event, California native and UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber will return to the Octagon against No. 15 Ricky Simon.

Randamie is riding a four-fight winning streak, most recently defeating former title challenger Raquel Pennington by a lopsided unanimous decision in November. The 35-year-old is a former UFC women’s featherweight champion, having won the inaugural title over Holly Holm in February 2017. The UFC, however, stripped Randamie of the title in June 2017 after saying she would not defend the title against Cris Cyborg due to documented PED use.

Randamie is also a multiple-time kickboxing and Muay Thai champion, holding the women’s record for consecutive victories (37-0, 14 knockouts). The Utrecht, Netherlands native is 8-3 in MMA and 5-1 in the UFC with her only loss coming to bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in 2013. A victory on Saturday would create a good storyline and put her in a favorable position to avenge that loss.

Ladd is only 24 years old and has put together a perfect 8-0 MMA record (six finishes). She has won her first three fights in the UFC, most recently defeating Sijara Eubanks by unanimous decision in May and winning Fight of the Night honors. The win was Ladd’s second over Eubanks, while she also has UFC victories over Tonya Evinger and Lina Lansberg.

Ladd will fight in her home state of California this weekend, and a victory over a fighter with a wealth of experience such as Randamie would be her greatest victory to date. She’s already considered the future of the women’s bantamweight division, and a win this weekend would only solidify that assertion.




Co-main event

Saturday’s co-main event will be a bantamweight fight between UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber and No. 15 Ricky Simon.

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Faber last fought in December 2016, a unanimous decision victory over Brad Pickett that ironically came in Sacramento. Nine months after announcing his retirement, Faber was inducted into the Modern Era Wing of the UFC Hall of Fame. Now at 40 years old, he’ll make his return against a dangerous younger fighter.

“Looking at today’s landscape, I just know that I can compete easily,” Faber told former UFC fighter Dan Hardy in May. “I’ve stayed in great shape. It sounds like fun, and the reason I stopped is because I decided I wanted to.

“And the reason I’m coming back is because I’ve decided i want to.”

Faber has the most wins in UFC bantamweight history with nine and the most finishes with six. In his career dating back to 2003, he has key victories over top fighters who include Pickett, Dominick Cruz, Alex Caceres, Michael McDonald, Iuri Alcantara, Scott Jorgensen, Brian Bowles, Eddie Wineland, Takeya Mizugaki, Raphael Assuncao and Jens Pulver (twice).

Faber will undoubtedly be the most popular fighter on Saturday night, as he is considered a local legend in his hometown of Sacramento. He founded Team Alpha Male in the city in 2004, and they’ve produced fighters such as Joseph Benavidez, Darren Elkins, Sage Northcutt and Josh Emmett. They’ve also produced champions such as TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt, along with Faber himself in his WEC days.

Simon (15-1, 3-0 in UFC) has won eight straight fights, most recently defeating Rani Yahya by unanimous decision at UFC 234 in February. He believes Faber making his return against him was the wrong decision.

“I was surprised,” Simon recently told BJPENN.com. “I was thinking he would want someone a little easier. For him to come back against me is a bad idea.”

“I’m hungry, I’m young, I’m a prospect on a winning streak. I am trying to make my name. This proves to me that Urijah Faber thinks he can hang with me. But, once the cage door closes, I’m going to stop him.”

The 26-year-old Washington native believes Saturday is his chance to prove he’s a prospect on the rise.

“I see it being an exciting fight, but my pressure will be too much for Urijah Faber,” Simon said. “He is damn near 41 years old, so I don’t think he will be able to keep up with me. I’m going to pressure him, and I’m always gunning for that finish.

“I’m hoping for a finish, and I think late second or early third round. I am going to beat up this Hall of Famer, go on my honeymoon with a $50k bonus then back to work right after.”


The rest of the main card on ESPN+

Featherweight bout - No. 10 Josh Emmett vs. No. 12 Mirsad Bektić

Middleweight bout - Karl Roberson vs. Wellington Turman

Middleweight bout - Marvin Vettori vs. Cezar Ferreira


ESPN+ Prelims

Light Heavyweight - Mike Rodriguez vs. John Allan

Featherweight bout - Andre Fili vs. Sheymon Moraes

Women's bantamweight bout - Julianna Peña vs. Nicco Montaño

Featherweight bout - No. 15 Darren Elkins vs. Ryan Hall

Bantamweight bout - Liu Pingyuan vs. Jonathan Martinez

Women's strawweight bout - No. 10 Livinha Souza vs. Brianna Van Buren

Bantamweight bout - Benito Lopez vs. Martin Day