The UFC is close to finalizing two high-profile women’s bouts for UFC Fight Night on Dec. 7 in Washington.
Bantamweight prospect Aspen Ladd (8-1) will face former title challenger Yana Kunitskaya (12-4), and former strawweight title challenger Claudia Gadelha (17-4) will meet the surging Cynthia Calvillo (8-1). Both fights have been verbally agreed to, per multiple sources. The event will take place at Capital One Arena and air on ESPN.
Ladd, 24, is coming off the first loss of her professional career. She suffered a 16-second knockout against Germaine de Randamie in the main event of an event last month. That event took place in Sacramento, California, which is a short drive from Ladd’s hometown of Pioneer.
The finish was somewhat controversial, in that many felt it was stopped too early. De Randamie knocked Ladd down with an early punch, but Ladd appeared to be in the process of reaching for her as the contest was stopped.
Prior to the 135-pound fight, Ladd’s physical appearance during the official weigh-in caused widespread concern, as she was seen grimacing and shaking on the scale. Her management team, MMAGOLD, released a statement to ESPN on Thursday addressing those concerns.
“Aspen has partnered with the UFC Performance Institute and the California State Athletic Commission, and we see no problems ahead,” the statement read.
Kunitskaya, 29, a former featherweight title challenger, is riding a two-fight win streak. She trains out of Las Vegas.
Gadelha, 30, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Randa Markos at UFC 239 in July. The former two-time title challenger is currently training out of New Jersey.
Calvillo, who is based out of Sacramento, was forced to pull out of a scheduled fight last month due to a foot injury, but has since been cleared to compete later this year. She is 5-1 in the UFC since joining the promotion in 2017.