Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha will face off in their UFC strawweight championship on July 8 in the main event of the TUF 23 Finale. The bout will be a rematch of their contest of December 2014 when Jedrzejczyk triumphed over Gadelha on a split decision. Jedrzejczyk went on to further success by claiming the UFC strawweight title in her fight against Carla Esparza, and defended the crown twice last year. Gadelha has only been in action once since her defeat to the Pole when she overcame Jessica Aguilar to set up the rematch against the 28-year-old.

Jedrzejczyk’s Rise To Power joanna-gadelha

Jedrzejczyk enjoyed early success in mixed martial arts by recording victories over Sylwia Juskiewicz and Lily Kazak, while in 2013 she took the major scalp of Russia’s number one fighter, Julia Berezikova. Jedrzejczyk made a statement with a second-round win over Rosi Sexton, which would be Sexton’s final MMA fight.

As a result of her convincing victory, the Pole was signed up by the UFC in July 2014, making her strawweight debut against Juliana Lima, although her opponent failed to make the weight. In a three-round bout, Jedrzejczyk continued her unbeaten MMA record with a victory on a unanimous decision. It set the stage for her first clash against Galdeha, who like the pole was undefeated in her MMA career, in December 2014 in Arizona. Jedrzejczyk was considered the underdog going into the contest, but produced a battling performance to defy the odds and secure the victory.

Her win earned her the chance to battle against Esparza in Dallas in an attempt to clinch her first UFC title. The 28 year old produced a phenomenal display of power and athleticism to defeat the champion in two rounds on a technical knockout. Jedrzejczyk’s strength proved too much for the American to handle, and although Esparza absorbed several solid shots, her resistance was ended by the referee due to the damage inflicted by the Pole.

It was Esparza’s first defeat in four years and proved Jedrzejczyk’s dominance at the top of the sport, which she solidified with a victory over Jessica Penne in three rounds in the major showcase of the UFC Fight Night in Berlin. Jedrzejczyk was on point again in her second defense against Valerie Letourneau without being on top form, claiming a victory over the Canadian on a unanimous points’ decision. The 28-year-old now faces the challenge of Gadelha once again, aiming to extend her unbeaten record to 12 bouts and maintain her place at the top of the strawweight rankings.

She has risen to the top of the sport, which has brought a number of lucrative sponsorship deals, including with Reebok which she has donned for her bouts since 2015 and will do so again against Gadelha. At the time of writing, Jedrzejczyk is backed online at 4/9 to retain her title, while the Brazilian comes in at 13/8 to snatch the crown (odds on June 2nd)

Gadelha Seeking Vengeance

Claudia Gadelha

Gadelha tasted defeat for the first time in her MMA career at the hands of Jedrzejczyk in their first bout 18 months ago. The 27-year-old’s unbeaten run had lasted an incredible span of six years, as she made a steady rise in the sport in her native Brazil before launching her career on the global scale. She notched 10 victories on the bounce before receiving a contract for the Invicta Fighting Championships, defeating Ayaka Hamasaki in her debut bout in July 2013.

Gadelha was among 10 fighters to be signed by the UFC in late 2013 to compete in the strawweight division, with her first fight putting her against Tina Lahdemaki. The Brazilian outclassed her opponent with a strong display, securing victory on a unanimous points’ decision. Next on the card for Gadelha was the showdown with Jedrzejczyk, victory in which would have put her on course to compete for the strawweight title. She was backed to defeat the Pole, and although the fight proved a close contest, Jedrzejczyk emerged victorious despite claims from pundits and supporters that the Brazilian had edged the fight.

Injury prevented the 27-year-old from competing in her next scheduled bout against Aisling Daly, and she made her return to action against Jessica Aguilar in August 2015. The Brazilian used her experience to defeat Aguilar, landing several telling blows on her opponent while doing enough to shield herself from the Mexican, earning victory on a unanimous points’ decision. Gadelha will now aim to secure her first UFC title against the only fighter to blemish her record.

Can Gadelha Break Jedrzejczyk’s Unbeaten Record?

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There is little love lost between the two fighters due to their exploits in the last contest, as Gadelha landed a telling blow on the Pole after the bell had sounded at the end of the bout. The war of words in the fight announcement press conference almost spilled over into a brawl, although the altercation was contained to further verbal barbs. However, there have been reports of other scuffles between the duo ahead of their second bout. The match is expected to bring a huge audience to Fox Sports in the TUF 23 Finale, after the last contest between the duo brought a massive ratings boost for the television station.

In the first encounter, Jedrzejczyk started off strongly and put the Brazilian on the back foot, knocking her off her rhythm. The Pole made telling blows in the second to open up a cut above Gadelha’s eye, although the Brazilian managed to rally with a series of punches to Jedrzejczyk’s abdomen. The duo battled an even final round, with Gadelha landing her illegal blow after the bell, although she was not punished for the incident.

Jedrzejczyk’s strong first round proved to be the difference in the bout, as she secured the victory on a split decision, despite claims from pundits that the Brazilian had edged the contest. Two judges marked in favor of the Pole 29-28 29-28, with one judge backing Gadelha 29-28, which proved that there was little between the pair. As a result, the Brazilian should be confident heading into the rematch if she adopts a different strategy in the first round. Should Gadelha enjoy a stronger start to the next bout, she may be able to reverse her fortunes and win her first UFC title.

5 thoughts on “Joanna Jedrzejczyk Aims To Fend Off Claudia Gadelha Challenge”
  1. “despite claims from pundits that the Brazilian had edged the contest” WHAT? What fight were they watching? The fight I watched had a first round where Jedrzejczyk clocked Claudia into tomorrow. The rest of the fight showed Claudia holding Jedrzejczyk against the cage trying in desperation to get a take down which didnt happen or if it did on occasion Jedrzejczyk was still able to get up so fast that it was irrelevant.

  2. Go and watch the match again. Claudia won, everyone saw that. Apart from that Claudia launched some really impressive takedowns and had good striking. Joanna was all about striking and did not really produce good ground game.

  3. I watched the fight replay a few days ago. Impressive takedowns?? She clung to Joanna against the cage like a person drowning clings to a life raft until they both fell to the floor and then Joanna got right back up and she didnt take any damage in the process. Yea the fight was close because Joanna, a striker, can not strike while being smothered against the cage but just because you are smothered against the cage does not mean you are taking damage and losing the fight. Again, with most rounds being equal, that 1st round where Joanna almost took Claudia’s head off really sealed her victory. Claudia need a new strategy besides lay and pray. Also history proves that a the challenger has to beat the champion not come close or avoid being KO’d by smothering.

  4. Was there ever a point in the fight where the grappler Claudia had the striker in submission trouble? I didnt see any, not 1 near successful submission attempts but I did see a strike that almost knocked Claudia into the next month.

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