UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk had the toughest fight of her career when she fought Claudia Gadelha in December of 2014. That fight was topped on Friday night at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale in Las Vegas, but once again it was Gadelha that tested her.
Having ripped through her next three opponents after that first fight, many expected Jedrzejczyk to have any easier time with Gadelha this time, but that didn’t happen.
While Jedrzejczyk was obviously faster on the feet, the disparity between her speed and Gadelha’s wasn’t as apparent early in the fight, when Gadelha was able to use her power shots to rock the champion on a few occasions.
What really set the first two rounds apart from the rest was Gadelha’s success in taking Jedrzejczyk down. With her strength fully intact, Gadelha frequently muscled Jedrzejczyk to the fence and forced her to the canvas.
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As the fight wore on, however, Jedrzejczyk had an easier time regaining her feet, and spent less time on the canvas.
In the third frame, the tide turned. Gadelha’s gas tank began to visibly empty. Jedrzejczyk began stuffing more and more of Gadelha’s takedowns, and stepped up the pace of her striking, which Gadelha had little answer for.
Jedrzejczyk’s striking was a whirlwind of activity. She was constantly shifting stances, bouncing on the balls of her feet, using her jab to set the cross, then using it to set up an inside kick, then a flurry of punches with a knee tacked on the end of it. The champion was a blur when she hit her stride.
The fourth frame was were it all came crashing ….View full article