They call them the "championship rounds" for a reason. At The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale, Joanna Jędrzejczyk proved why that was.
UFC Strawweight Champion Jędrzejczyk (12-0) defeated challenger and longtime for Claudia Gadelha (13-2), but the one-sided statistics aren't really an indication of how this fight could have played out.
Gadelha and Jędrzejczyk served as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 23, constantly butting heads on and off of the program. The two were all too willing to throw down on Friday's show, and the beginning of the fight looked eerily similar to their December 2014 fight. Gadelha took Jędrzejczyk down repeatedly, but was unable to land much offense outside of a few short punches.
Jędrzejczyk recovered and started laying a beating on Gadelha after the second half of round three, a beating that would be sustained for three rounds. Jędrzejczyk appeared to get stronger as the fight went on. It's worth noting that Gadelha had fought once since she first competed against Jędrzejczyk. Meanwhile, Jędrzejczyk had fought three times in the iterim. Jędrzejczyk's cardiovascular conditoning is developing into a virtual fairy tale, while Gadelha's was her downfall.
At the post-fight press conference, Jędrzejczyk indicated that she has conditioning for 10-15 rounds, and her team felt that Gadelha may get tired by round three. Jędrzejczyk then declared that she'd be interested in starting a women's flyweight (125 pound) division after defending her championship again this year, saying "I will be ready fo everyone, will they be ready for me?"
Even though she was defeated soundly, Gadelha said that the rivalry wasn't over and that she "doesn't respect Joanna as a person." She would also go on to say she felt she won the first three rounds of the fight.
You can see our full Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale results at this link.
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