In the main event of Friday night's The Ultimate Fighter 23 finale, UFC champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) faces her longtime rival Cláudia Gadelha (13-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC). This fight is the second time the two will meet, with Jędrzejczyk having pulled off a split-decision victory against Gadelha in the pair's first outing. The official UFC rankings have Gadelha as the #1 contender in the Strawweight rankings and Jędrzejczyk features at #12 in the pound-for-pound rankings.
This rematch is 18 months in the making and should provide Jędrzejczyk with a solid test. Gadelha has all the tools to potentially dethrone the champion and this fight has all the making of a classic.The main card for the TUF 23 finale: Team Joanna vs. Team Cláudia airs on Fox Sports 1 on Friday, January 8th at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.
How do these two stack up:
Jędrzejczyk: 28 years old | 5'6" | 65" reach
Gadelha: 27 years old | 5'4" | 63" reach
What have these two done recently?
Jedrzejczyk: W - Valerie Letourneau (UD) | W - Jessica Penne (TKO) | W - Carla Esparza (TKO)
Claudia Gadelha: W - Jessica Aguilar(UD) | L - Joanna Jędrzejczyk (SD) | W - Tina Lähdemäki (UD)
How did these get here?
Cláudia Gadelha is perhaps the most ruthless fighter in the strawweight division. Over the last few years, Gadelha has carved her way to the top of her division by displaying a mixture of high-level skills and insane pressure. Gadelha personifies determination and displayed it to the fullest when she almost defeated Jędrzejczyk. Following that fight, Gadelha bounced back with a solid win over Jessica Aguilar and as it stands, the Brazilian seems to be the biggest threat to Jędrzejczyk's title.
Joanna Jędrzejczyk has really brought a lot of fans to the strawweight division with her frenetic fighting style. Following he victory of Gadelha, Joanna has looked simply immense, particularly in her title-winning performance against Carla Esparza and her fight with Jessica Penne. Following another dominant victory in her last performance, Jędrzejczyk really needs an opponent to put the pressure on her and Gadelha has shown that she has the ability to potentially be the champion's kryptonite.
Why should you care?
This fight is the pinnacle of the strawweight division, both Jędrzejczyk and Gadelha are in their prime, so this one should be an all-out classic.