After her tenure in another major MMA promotion ended last year, Aspen Ladd was quickly scooped up by the PFL. She made her PFL debut in November with a major split-decision victory over Julia Budd. A grappling expert, Ladd’s 2023 season did not get off to the best of starts, however, thanks to a majority decision loss to Olena Kolesnyk in April.
Coming into tonight’s fight with a 4-1 professional MMA record, Karolina Sobek’s victories have all come in different MMA promotions, and three have come via scarf hold — including a win over fellow women’s featherweight competitor Martina Jindrova. Sobek’s PFL debut in April did not go according to plan, however, as she dropped a unanimous decision to Evelyn Martins.
As a result of their losses earlier in the season, both women need a win to remain alive in the playoff chase.
Ladd quickly comes out firing, but Sobek dropped her with a hook before pressing her against the SmartCage. Ladd tried to pummel her way free, but Sobek is able to briefly get her down again. Ladd is able to eventually fight through it, and he’s able to land a takedown of her own against Sobek. Sobek throws up her guard and does a good job controlling Ladd’s head.
Sobek briefly got back to her feet, but Ladd pulled her back down. Sobek returned to her feet, but Ladd continued to push forward as the two grinded against the fence. Ladd returned the fight to the ground, and she was able to transition her way into mount. Ladd lands some ground-and-pound before Sobek gives up her back. Ladd lands some more shots up top as she looks to get hooks in.
Ladd looked to return to her success in the first round and pushed forward, but Sobek used that to land a couple of solid right hands on Ladd. Ladd, however, hit Sobek with a strong right of her own. Ladd pressed Sobek against the SmartCage once more, but Sobek got her hooks in and held her own, resisting Ladd’s efforts to score another takedown.
Sobek is briefly able to free herself, but Ladd managed to dodge Sobek’s punches. Ladd looked for another level change and pinned Sobek against the fence again. With just over a minute left in the round, Ladd managed to score another takedown. Ladd looked to get back into mount, but Sobek’s guard prevented her from doing so. With less than 20 seconds left, Ladd looked for an armbar attempt and was able to secure it!
Ladd scores the submission in the last seconds of the second round to secure her spot in the PFL Playoffs!
Aspen Ladd def. Karolina Sobek via second-round submission (armbar, 4:57)