Looks like the UFC won't be playing favorites this time. After an understandable, but frustrating series of decisions to put WMMA on hold while the UFC looked to create just the right opening bouts, they've finally given up on waiting and are booking their currently signed strawweights who won't be on TUF 20. Fox Sports broke the news of the bout as well as the signing of Tina Lahdemaki.
The 26-year old Finn makes her way to the UFC with a perfect 5-0 record, compiled on Finland's growing regional scene. Her record isn't much to impress in name value, but she has three stoppages in her five wins, and has faced some veteran competition. "Jelly Bean" as she is also known, Throws some alright, straight punches and even has a little bit of pop in her hands, but mostly striking is a tool to get her into the clinch where she looks for bodylock drags and throws. She'll have an incredibly tough time implementing that game on Gadelha who is likely to be bigger (although they're the same height), stronger, and thus far has proven herself as much more technical in all areas.
Claudia Gadelha will be recognizable to those following the women's side of MMA, as one of the odds-on favorites to win the first UFC strawweight title when the TUF tournament was announced. Her absence from TUF has to be a huge relief to the remaining women as it makes the path to UFC gold that much easier. In fact, if I had to make a guess, I'd be willing to bet that the UFC will be looking to build Gadelha up as the first challenger to the new champion once she's been crowned. Lahdemaki isn't a bad fighter, but her skills play right into what Gadelha does best.
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John Lineker vs. Alptekin Ozkilic
Rick Story vs. John Howard
Gleison Tibau vs. Pat Healy
Edson Barboza vs. Evan Dunham
Justin Salas vs. Joe Proctor
Jessamyn Duke vs. Leslie Smith
Claudia Gadelha vs. Tina Lahdemaki
Hugo Viana vs. Aljamain Sterling
Jim Alers vs. Lucas Martins