Top ten strawweight clash as Cláudia Gadelha tries to hand Yan Xiaonan her first UFC loss and keep her place towards the top of the division. Will Xiaonan maintain her perfect UFC record and continue marching towards a title shot?
Cláudia Gadelha (18-4) joined the UFC as a strawweight in 2014 with a perfect 11-0 record and has since gone 7-4, currently sitting as the number 13 pound for pound women’s fighter in the organization. All of her UFC contests apart from one have gone to the judges’ scorecards.
Gadelha has experience against the very best at strawweight having fought three of the five champions there have ever been in the division. Prior to them becoming champions she faced Joanna Jędrzejczyk, losing by split decision, and Jéssica Andrade, where Gadelha was dominated on her way to a unanimous decision loss in the Fight of the Night (FOTN).
Gadelha again challenged Jędrzejczyk, this time for the title, in July 2016 but lost this rematch by unanimous decision in another FOTN before finding success against a former champion when she beat Carla Esparza by split decision at UFC 225. In her last fight, against Angela Hill in May, Gadelha won by split decision and is now looking to win three in a row for the first time in the UFC.
“Claudinha” will be hoping to reach this milestone in her home training state of Las Vegas. The Brazilian has never been finished in her professional career while seven of her nine finishes have come via submission, eight in the first round.
With Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai style, I expect that Gadelha will try to take Xiaonan down and attempt to dominate on the ground in search of the win that will keep her amongst the top fighters in the division.
Yan Xiaonan (12-1-0, 1NC) signed with the UFC in 2017 and has won all five of her fights by unanimous decision since. The Chinese fighter’s only loss was over a decade ago, in September 2010, and came via submission, but she did not compete between October of that year and July 2015.
“Nine” has won ten of her last eleven bouts, the only blip being her last fight before joining the UFC which was ruled a no-contest due to a cut caused by an accidental clash of heads. She has never won by submission but has seven unanimous decision victories and five KO/TKO wins on her resume, four of those finishes coming in round one.
Xiaonan’s background is in BJJ and Sanda, and we can expect to see her try to keep the fight standing against Gadelha. A win would see her rise into the top five of the strawweight division and only a fight or two away from a chance at UFC gold.
Prediction: Xiaonan by decision in the FOTN.
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