“Joanna Champion” Bests Gadelha in TUF “Fight of the Night”

One of the most true feuds in recent memory finally came to a head. The Ultimate Fighter 23 coaches UFC Strawweight (115 lbs.) champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and challenger Claudia Gadelha’s bad blood may still run deeply based on Gadelha’s post-fight comments, but after a razor-close decision in their first meeting this time the winner was unanimous.

Gadelha seemed to shock everyone in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, knocking Jedrzejczyk on her backside with a simple opening left jab in the first seven seconds of the fight. Nothing occurs from Gadelha in the butterfly/half guard of the titleholder and the two clinch once Jedrzejczyk is on her feet again. They dirty box and what looks like a Judo takedown following a leg trip puts Jedrzejczyk back on defense.

Gadelha’s biggest plus was the takedown ability that started in the first and with the knockdown, the round clearly belonged to her. The commentators at the broadcasted table noticed Gadelha already breathing heavily from those takedowns and the ability to pop back up by Jedrzejczyk was a demoralizing plus going into the second round.

Another takedown kicks off the next five minutes for the Brazilian. Nothing materializes from the building blocks of a submissions, but she scores points with lefts. The next time things look to be heading downward Jedrzejczyk spreads herself farther apart, nullifying the attempt from the woman in blue gloves.

Minus a moment in the mount position, Jedrzejczyk remains intertwined with her rival until the rest period.With Gadelha’s energy fading, the transitional round of the bout got underway.

The underdog has started to remain stationary by this point after attempting strikes and Jedrzejczyk reacts by unloading three to four punches at a time. For some it might have appeared that that queen of 115 was late getting out of the starting blocks, but later saying that she “conditioned for ten or 15 rounds”, it was evident that the rep of Poland was right on track.

Gadelha tries to stick herself to Jedrzejczyk like a fly caught on wax paper, but to no avail. The now 12-0 champion doesn’t worry much about keeping a distance against an almost frozen opponent as she now incorporates more leg kicks into her combos at will. Jedrzejczyk rises from another takedown so quickly that at this point it’s doing Gadelha more harm than good in some respects.

With Jedrzejczyk now manipulating the direction of this one, any attempt to engage in Jiu-Jitsu is countered by backing away and inviting Gadelha to stand, which referee John McCarthy forces. Twin elbows from Jedrzejczyk and a countering elbow from the tiring fighter end the third. Gadelha was almost completely shut out in the fourth as well, landing her second least amount of strikes for the night.

The fifth round is essentially just a formality at this point (Remember fans: Never rule out a shocking upset) as the championship is slipping out of Gadelha’s hands with the clock winding down.

The volume of arguably the UFC’s overall greatest women’s fighter aside from Ronda Rousey continued to increase as Jedrzejczyk led rounds three to five 57-8, 75-6, and 52-4 in total strikes compared to Gadelha. All that was required after that was the official announcement.

After a disappointing twelve weeks as a coach that saw only one member of her team in Khalil Roundtree make it to the The Ultimate Fighter Finale to replace Gadelha’s injured Cory Hendricks, Jedrzejczyk appears to have had the last laugh.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Claudia Gadelha via Unanimous Decision (48-45, 48-46, 48-46)