With only a couple of weeks left until UFC 273 there’s been a change announced, with Irene Aldana out of her fight with Aspen Ladd for undisclosed reasons and Raquel Pennington stepping in as the short-notice replacement.
The original fight had potential title implications given that Aldana is ranked No.3 and Ladd is one spot behind her at No.4, but under the circumstances, being able to bring in the No.7 ranked Pennington still makes it a meaningful fight for the division.
It also helps that Pennington actually holds a split decision win over the fighter she’s replacing. That was back in 2019, and was followed by a decision loss to Holly Holm, but ‘Rocky’ has since gone on a three-fight winning streak, beating Marion Reneau, Pannie Kianzad and most recently Macy Chiasson by submission.
As for Ladd, she’s actually lost two of her last three fights, although only one of those losses came at bantamweight – a 2019 TKO defeat at the hands of Germaine de Randamie, which remains her only loss in the division.
After that Ladd rebounded with a TKO finish against Yana Kunitskaya, but she then went on to accept a fight against Norma Dumont at featherweight and lost by unanimous decision.
Ladd vs. Pennington will appear on the preliminary card of a UFC 273 event that will be headlined by a featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and The Korean Zombie, while bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling rematches former titleholder Petr Yan in the co-main event.