Women’s flyweight contenders Claudia Gadelha and Jessica Andrade squared off in a highly anticipated contest tonight (Fri., Sept. 22, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 117 inside Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, which aired live on FXX (not FOX Sports 1).
One Brazilian was going to put her stamp on the division as the consensus number two strawweight in the world with a win.
They touched gloves. Gadelhha opened with a kick, circled. Andrade was circling forward, looking for her range. Gadelha landed a sharp left hook, they exchanged, with both fighters landing. Gadelha connected on a nice four-punch combination of straight punches. She was catching Andrade clean with power shots. Andrade bulled forward again, swinging, and although she did connect, Gadelha was landing cleaner. Andrade ate a knee and her forehead opened up, bloody. They exchanged again, Andrade with those Lineker-esque one-two combinations. Andrade pushed into the clinch with an underhook and ducked under for a takedown, picking up Gadelha and slamming her. Gadelha got up and tried for a guillotine, but couldn’t get the finish. Andrade stood over Gadelha in guard, punching, then attempting to pass into side control. She got to half guard and began to tee off with her left hand to the body and head. Gadelha threw hammerfists, back, but her good striking work in the opening phase was evaporating with the damage Andrade was landing. That will be a tough round to score.
The second round opened with Gadelha connecting on a nice straight, but eating Andrade hooks. Gadelha ducked under and took Andrade down, but couldn’t keep top position. Andrade got back up right away, circled Gadelha into the cage, and tried for a takedown of her own. Andrade stuffed a Gadelha takedown and took top position. Her bull strength proved very difficult for Gadelha to deal with, as she landed a number of hard shots and then two knees to the head as Gadelha got back to her feet. They exchanged big punches, but Andrade seemed unphased and GAdelha was beginning to tire, eating hard combinations as Andrade got going. She ducked under for a couple weak single-legs. Andrade stepped clear fo the first but stuffed the second, pushing Gadelha down and landing hard shots with Gadelha on one knee. Gadelha mustered the energy for a hard counter right on Andrade’s chin, but the former bantamweight was completely unphased and she kept coming, throwing six and seven-punch combinations. Gadelha went for a tight arm-in guillotine from the clinch as the round wore down, really putting maximum effort into it. Andrade stood with Gadelha hanging on her neck until the bell rang.
They hugged at the start of round three. Gadelha was wearing her exhaustion in her body language. She looked for the sharp straight counters, but a duck-under takedown was stuffed easily. Andrade used the tie-up as an excuse to get the clinch. She ducked under and picked up Gadelha effortlessly with that high-crotch single, slamming her hard. Andrade slammed home punches to the face and body from half guard. Gadelha tried to work back to full guard. She eventually did, with Andrade switching to elbows to the face. Her onslaught was unrelenting. Andrade has ridiculous cardio, and Gadelha didn’t seem to have much energy left, using some of it to try to throw back from the bottom. That didn’t work well, and she couldn’t seem to break down Andrade’s posture to stymie the constant punches. Andrade passed to side control, then knee-on-belly. Gadelha got to her knees, with Andrade still hammering her body with punches and knees from a ride position. She eventually got to her feet, and Andrade unloaded on her in a brief moment of separation from the clinch. After the ten-second clapper, Andrade picked Gadelha up one more time and slung her over her back for one last slam on the canvas. There was no doubt who this fight belonged to. Jessica Andrade
In the post-fight interview, wearing a bright feathered headdress, she thanks her coaches that she doesn’t have to leave Brazil to train. She said she has to keep on improving- this is for her family and Brazil. What a fight, and what a win for Andrade, who put on the most entertaining and interesting performance of the night by far.
Official result: Jessica Andrade def. Claudia Gadelha via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-27)
For complete Fight Night 117 results, including play-by-play, click here