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Claudia Gadelha: Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s jiu-jitsu is weak

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Claudia Gadelha is happy to welcome Jessica Aguilar to the Octagon.

Aguilar, a former WSOF 115-pound champion, asked to be released from the promotion to seek her dream to fight in the UFC, and "Claudinha" expects a tough battle at UFC 190, scheduled for Aug. 1 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"Jessica Aguilar was considered the best strawweight in the world, but she was not in the UFC, not in the UFC rankings. But was the best outside the UFC," Gadelha said during a UFC 190 media day in Rio de Janeiro. "But now she has to come to the UFC and fight the lions. She had nothing left to prove outside the UFC."

After signing with the UFC in 2014, Gadelha said she would prefer to fight in the United States instead of competing in Brazil. Her UFC debut took place in Atlantic City, and she defeated Tina Lahdemaki via unanimous decision. In her next bout, in Phoenix, the Nova Uniao fighter lost a close decision to current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

"Claudinha" will fight in Rio de Janeiro for the first time since a pair of wins in the city in 2009, and hopes to become more popular in her home country.

"I believe I focus better when I’m fighting overseas, my weight cut is better. I was already used to it because of Invicta FC, and my two UFC fights were outside of Brazil, but I’m happy with the idea of fighting in Rio," she said. "I know there will be a lot of people rooting for me in the arena. It’s going to be different, and I hope that’s positive for me.

"I’m more popular outside of Brazil because I fought at Invicta FC. A lot of people in Brazil don’t know me yet, but it’s time to show them my work."

The UFC 115-pound title will be on the line Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 69, with Jedrzejczyk defending the strawweight championship against Jessica Penne. Gadelha, who has only lost to Jedrzejczyk in her 13-fight MMA career, believes she will be the next in line after UFC 190.

"I think they gave me this fight in August thinking about the rematch," Gadelha said. "I really want to rematch Joanna, but I think it’s fair that I have to fight before, so I can win and then challenge Joanna.

"I wasn’t intimidated by her boxing in the first fight," she continued. "She knocked me down in the first round, but a fight is a fight, that happens. She knocked me down with 10 seconds left in the first round, and I was better the entire round. I got too excited and wanted to brawl, trade punches with her for three rounds. But now I know what I have to do so I don’t leave any doubts. I have to take her down and ground and pound. She has a good boxing, a good takedown defense, but her jiu-jitsu is weak."

A former Invicta FC atomweight, Penne earned a shot at the gold after a win over Randa Markos in her UFC debut, but Gadelha picks Jedrzejczyk to win in Berlin.

"I think Joanna is the toughest fighter in the division," she said. "She has a great boxing, heavy hands and a great takedown defense. I think it’s hard for any strawweight to take her down. I think (Penne) won’t take her down, and Joanna will knock her out.

"Penne’s chances are to take her down and use her jiu-jitsu, but, like I said, Joanna defends takedowns pretty well. I think I’m the only strawweight that can take her down."

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