Aspen Ladd definitely pays attention to what her coach tells her between rounds.
Following the first loss of her career earlier this year, the 24-year-old bantamweight contender bounced back with a punishing ground and pound TKO to finish Yana Kunitskaya on the UFC on ESPN 7 main card.
The end came following an emphatic set of instructions from her head coach Jim West, who shouted at Ladd while she was on the stool to “punch her and don’t stop f*cking punching her” until she got the finish. Ladd listened and delivered a staggering left hand that dropped Kunitskaya to the mat just seconds later and she followed up with a flurry of punches on the ground that earned her the stoppage victory.
“I better freaking listen,” Ladd said when asked about her coach’s instructions. “If he’s seeing this, he’s seeing this and I need to go. I’m happy to be back. Feels like I’m home.
It was a slow pace in the early going but that all changed late in the opening round after Ladd secured an outside trip takedown, which led to a dominant position for her on the ground. Ladd eventually advanced her position to take the back and she just began furiously punching away at Kunitskaya trying to get the finish.
Kunitskaya survived the onslaught and actually slipped free from the bad position before moving into the second round where she tried her best to the keep the fight on the feet.
As it turns out that sequence was a harbinger of the end after Ladd slammed home a perfectly timed left hand that put Kunitskaya on the mat at the start the third round and she never got back up again.
Once she had the Russian bantamweight hurt, Ladd just continued to blast away until the referee finally saw enough and called a stop to the fight at 33 seconds into the final round.
After suffering a knockout loss of her own to top ranked bantamweight contender Germaine de Randamie earlier this year, Ladd came back with a statement performance on Saturday night to get the TKO win, which moves her to 9-1 in her career and 4-1 in the UFC.