Women continue to make their mark in the Ultimate Fighting Championship with the debut of the strawweight division at UFC Fight Night 45 in Atlantic City on Wednesday. Highly touted Claudia Gadelha solidified her name in the history books by becoming the first female 115-pound fighter to win inside the Octagon.
The Brazilian was a heavy favorite over Tina Lahdemaki, but the fight went the distance.
Gadelha landed with punches early and pressed the pace. She showed crisp boxing, landing combinations in the pocket. She got to the clinch and delivered knees to the body. After securing a takedown, the undefeated Brazilian delivered punches to the body and head. The three-time jiu-jitsu world champion mounted Lahdemaki and pounded away with punches. The Finnish striker gave up her back. Gadelha applied a body lock and looked for a rear-naked choke, but was unable to finish.
The second round started much like the first. Gadelha switched from the Thai clinch to a double-leg takedown early in the frame. As Lahdemaki worked to stand, Gadelha took her back. Oddly, the referee separated them from the position. After being separated, Lahdemaki began to land more regularly as Gadelha seemed to slow down.
The first half of the final round played out on the feet with each lady landing shots. Gadelha secured an inside trip takedown midway through the round. Lahdemaki got to her feet only to be takedown down again. At the end of fifteen minutes of fighting, the judges scored Gadelha the winner by unanimous decision.
With the win, Gadelha remains undefeated, and the top contender to the eventual winner of The Ultimate Fighter 20, which will crown the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champion. The loss was Lahdemaki’s first career defeat.
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