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Claudia Gadelha headed to surgery after UFC 225 win over Carla Esparza

Claudia Gadelha defeated Carla Esparza at UFC 225.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Claudia Gadelha will have to go under the knife next week.

The Brazilian strawweight scored a close split decision victory over Carla Esparza at last week’s UFC 225 in Chicago, bouncing back to the win column after taking a long break from the sport, and now has to have surgery to fix a knee injury.

Speaking with MMA Fighting days after the victory, Gadelha revealed she sustained a knee and thigh injury less than two weeks before the fight, but decided against pulling out of the bout.

“I badly injured my knee, everyone at the UFC (Performance) Institute knows that because I was treated by the institute’s physiotherapist,” Gadelha said. “(The physiotherapist) was the only reason I didn’t pull out of the fight. She said ‘I’ll take care of you.’

”I kept visiting the physiotherapist during fight week to be able to fight. I felt the knee in the first round, could barely stand, and still beat Carla in her game, wrestling, so I think she’s just mad she couldn’t outwrestle me.”

It’s still unclear how long Gadelha will be forced out of the gym after the knee procedure, but she’s open to giving Esparza a rematch if that’s what the UFC wants, especially after the former UFC and Invicta FC champion accused Gadelha of cheating at UFC 225.

”If Carla wants a rematch, I don’t see any problem with that,” Gadelha said. “I’m sure I’ll dominate her even more because I dominated most of the fight with only one leg.”

”I think Carla is mad at me because this fight was supposed to happen for years, so she brought her best version,” she continued. “Her best version and me with one leg, I still won, so let her talk whatever she wants. If a rematch has to happen, I’m here.”

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