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Claudia Gadelha and Tina Lahdemaki Get New Women’s UFC Strawweight Division Off To A Strong Start

Claudia Gadelha punches Tina Lahdemaki during inaugural UFC women's strawweight fight

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If the first-ever fight in the UFC women’s strawweight division is any indication, fans are going to be in for a treat. Claudia Gadelha and Tina Lahdemaki both delivered in their historic women’s 115-pound encounter at Fight Night 45. After three action-packed rounds in Atlantic City, it was Gadelha maintaining her perfect record with a unanimous decision victory.

It appeared as though it might be a quick night as Gadelha utilized her strength advantage to enjoy a dominant opening round that featured crisp strikes and dominant control on the mat. Lahdemaki was in a vulnerable position in the final minute, but she showed tremendous resolve in surviving a series of choke and neck-crank submission attempts.

The Finnish fighter showed a sturdy chin in the final two rounds as she was more than happy to engage in an entertaining striking battle against Gadelha. The talented Brazilian showcased her technical superiority and power when she chose to end the stand-up proceedings by mixing in effective takedowns.

When the scorecards were read it was Gadelha earning the unanimous verdict by scores of 30-26, 30-27, 30-27. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist lived up to the hype in improving to 12-0 with the victory. Gadelha has produced eight finishes by knockout or submission, and the Nova Uniao product clearly has the skills to be a future champion.

Meanwhile, Lahdemaki turned in a gritty effort against her heavily favored opponent. While it represented the first loss of her career, the performance will definitely earn “Jelly Bean” future UFC appearances.

The new division will be firmly in the spotlight during Season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter, as it will crown an inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champion. The season will be coached by lightweight champion Anthony Pettis opposite top-contender Gilbert Melendez.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports