The UFC will crown the first women’s strawweight champion at The Ultimate Fighter 20, but the strawweights will first enter the Octagon in July.
Unbeaten in MMA, Claudia Gadelha and Tina Lahdemaki are set to collide at UFC Fight Night 45 in Atlantic City, N.J., on July 16. MMAFighting.com confirmed the news following an initial report from FOX Sports.
Gadelha enters the UFC with a perfect 11-0 MMA record. A teammate of Jose Aldo and Renan Barao at Nova Uniao, Gadelha moved from Invicta FC to the UFC to enter the Ultimate Fighter, but decided not to be part of the reality show because she wouldn’t be able to make weight several times during the show.
Less experienced than her opponent, Finland’s Lahdemaki will cut down from 125 pounds to 115 for her UFC debut. She enters the Octagon after racking up a 5-0 record with three stoppage victories.
"I’m well trained for every situation, ready for a perfect debut in the UFC," Gadelha told MMAFighting.com. "Since she’s a grappler, the fight will probably go to the ground but, like I said, I’m ready for everything."
Gadelha, who was removed from a fight against Invicta FC champion Carla Esparza in December because of health issues, hopes to fight for the title after her first bout, but will take any fight they offer.
"My goal in the UFC is to become the champion," she said, "but I’m an employee and I will fight whoever they want, for the title or not."
UFC Fight Night 45 takes place at the Revel Atlantic City in New Jersey and is headlined by a lightweight showdown between Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller. The other female bout on the card features Jessamyn Duke vs. Leslie Smith.