Fans are patiently waiting for The Ultimate Fighter 20, which will feature an all-women's cast of strawweights and will crown the first champion ever. However, the finale will not feature the first strawweight bout in UFC history, as that will go down July 16 in Atlantic City.
Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports announced Wednesday afternoon that UFC Fight Night 45 will feature the first 115-pound bout between Brazilian Claudia Gadelha and Finland's own Tina Lahdemaki.
Gadelha, who was originally supposed to be on the TUF 20 cast, pulled out of the reality show after weight cut issues would become a recurring problem on the show. Instead, she was given a free pass to the company where she will now lead the charge into the promotion.
Gadelha, ranked number three in B/R's WMMA rankings last month, is undefeated at 11-0. Training out of Nova Uniao, the Brazilian demolisher trains alongside Jose Aldo, Renan Barao and a murderer's row of other training partners.
Plus, it's not like Gadelha has been beating chumps. She has been fighting at a high level for years and has already earned wins over the likes of top Brazilian strawweight Kalindra Faria, current UFC employee Valerie Letourneau and Japanese legend Ayaka Hamasaki, her latest bout.
As for Lahdemaki, she makes a drop from 125 pounds to occupy one of the strawweight roster spots with the UFC. Like Gadelha, she is undefeated, though she is much more inexperienced at 5-0. That being said, she is currently ranked #11 in B/R's WMMA rankings last month.
A grappler, Lahdemaki has finished three of her five fights, including her most recent outing against Spanish veteran Karla Benitez. She also owns a win over Swedish prospect Linn Wennergren, which has earned her some respect.
This fight definitely has an interesting matchup and a great weight on its shoulders as the first women's bouts. Both women are great grapplers and should match up well in terms of size.
Gadelha is known for her strength and powerful strikes, which should be her great edge. However, fans will be surprised with the skill and grit of Lahdemaki, who is definitely the lesser known fighter here.
For more updates on the strawweight division and UFC FN 45, stay with Bleacher Report as the information becomes available.
|Lightweight||Donald Cerrone||Jim Miller|
|Flyweight||John Lineker||Alptekin Ozkilic|
|Welterweight||Rick Story||John Howard|
|Lightweight||Gleison Tibau||Pat Healy|
|Lightweight||Edson Barboza||Evan Dunham|
|Lightweight||Justin Salas||Joe Proctor|
|Bantamweight||Aljamain Sterling||Hugo Viana|
|Featherweight||Jim Alers||Lucas Martins|
|Bantamweight||Leslie Smith||Jessamyn Duke|
|Strawweight||Claudia Gadelha||Tina Lahdemaki|