The Runner Sports

TUF 23 Finale: Joanna Jedrzejczyk Comes Back To Defeat Claudia Gadelha To Retain Title

Unlike most high-profile rematches, Jedrzejczyk vs. Gadelha 2 lived up to the hype and even exceeded the epic fight they put on in December 2014.

Just like their first fight, Joanna Jedrzejczyk (12-0) was too much down the stretch and was awarded a unanimous (48-46, 48-46, 48-45) decision to retain her UFC strawweight championship.

Although the two strawweight stalwarts exchanged a ton of harsh words as recent coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, they showed mutual respect after the fight.

“We knew it would be a real tough fight,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I said after our first fight, she’s No. 1 and I am champion. I have so much respect for her.”

Despite coming up short, Claudia Gadelha (13-2) had a great showing as she used accurate counter striking and great wrestling to dictate the pace and dominate the champion in the first two rounds of the fight.

Gadelha came out the gates strong by dropping Jedrzejczyk and taking her down several times, to put Jedrzejczyk title reign in jeopardy for the first time since she won the belt in March 2015. It wasn’t until midway through the third round before Gadelha started slowing down and coming back to earth.

In her first championship five-round fight of her young UFC career, Gadelha completely gassed out and allowed Jedrzejczyk to seize momentum she would never give back.

“I was fighting the fight to win and in the third round I felt my arms begin to get tight,” a disappointed Gadelha said. “A lot of fighters get better fight by fight, she got better I got better and a lot of fighters who know what they want in life get better. I think I’m better than her technically if it wasn’t for the conditioning I could have beaten her.”

With Gadelha’s cardio clearly failing her, Joanna “Champion” was able to land a whopping 185 significant strikes in the final three rounds to take complete control of the fight down the stretch. Everything from head and push kicks, to elbows and punches landed at will for Jedrzejczyk as she was able to show the world why she might possibly be the best women’s pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world today.

The victory moved Jedrzejczyk to 6-0 in the UFC and 4-0 in title fights, but she still believes Ronda Rousey is the best of the best when it comes to women’s MMA.

“I don’t know. I’m waiting for Ronda Rousey,” Jedrzejczyk said when asked if she thought she was the best woman in the world. “For me, she’s still No. 1 and she deserves to be the No. 1. She was the first one and believe me guys, she will be back soon.”

Regardless if “Rowdy” comes back or not, after her latest performance it’s very evident Jedrzejczyk is definitely one of the best women fighters in the world today.