Top-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight contenders Claudia Gadelha and Jessica Aguilar threw down last night (Sat., Aug. 1, 2015) at UFC 190 inside HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Heading into this fight, Gadelha appeared to be one of very few women who could potentially defeat division champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She nearly earned a decision over the knockout artist in her last fight and was looking for a rematch with a victory here.
Before UFC formed its Strawweight division, Aguilar was almost universally regarded as the best strawweight in the world. By taking out Gadelha, Aguilar could take another major step towards regaining that ranking.
The fight started quickly, and it didn't take long for Gadelha to find her range. The Brazilian was aggressive with her punches and knees, which often connected due to her opponent's lack of head movement.
With about a minute remaining, Gadelha slammed her opponent to the mat without difficulty. She quickly moved into back mount, attacking with small punches and looking for the choke. However, the clock ran out before she could accomplish anything too significant.
Regardless, Gadelha controlled the first round in every area.
Gadelha started the second round strong as well, cracking Aguilar with an uppercut and then throwing her to the mat from the clinch. Despite the abuse she was taking, Aguilar remained calm and worked back to her feet.
Most of the second round took place on the feet, and Aguilar came out worse for wear. By the end of the round, her face was split open and her nose was bleeding badly, though she never stepped out of the pocket.
After taking a beating in the second, there was little doubt that Aguilar needed a finish in final frame to win.
To her credit, Aguilar did her best to turn things around. Some of the low kicks she'd been landing earlier began to add up, which made Gadelha's striking a bit more awkward. Additionally, "JAG" came at her opponent with punches, though exchanges rarely worked to her advantage.
Nonetheless, Gadelha landed plenty of punches of her own and finished with a strong takedown of her own. While the third round was closer than the rest, it ultimately didn't matter, as Gadelha was far ahead on the scorecards.
This was overall an excellent performance by Gadelha. She promised in the pre-fight talk that she was better everywhere, and she went out and proved it. Across three rounds, she out-struck, wrestled, and grappled her opponent.
Perhaps most importantly, Gadelha appears to be in great shape. She didn't slow down at all across 15 fast-paced minutes, which is quite important for her upcoming title shot against Jedrzejyczk.
While Gadelha's striking is still a bit raw, she's showing clear technical improvement. Really though, it only matters that she's able to force Jedrzejyczk to respect her on the feet, and she did that last time. Otherwise, Joanna "Champion" chews up her opponents.
Unfortunately for Aguilar, she faced a younger and more athletic version of herself. Aguilar had her time at the top, but there's a new wave of women coming up the 115-pound ranks. At this point, athleticism is ruling the weight class, and that's simply not Aguilar strength.
All that said, Aguilar is definitely a top fighter, and as she showed in this fight, is game as hell. Despite being forced out of her comfort zone of wrestling and top control, she stayed in the fight and did her best to make it close.
For her next bout, Aguilar should match up with someone in the bottom half of the Top 10. For example, she could battle with Michelle Waterson, another veteran of the division.
Last night, Claudia Gadelha picked apart and threw around Jessica Aguilar for a decision win. Can the Brazilian win her rematch with the champion?
For complete UFC 190: "Rousey vs Correia" live results and play-by-play click HERE!
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