It did not come without controversy, but top-ranked strawweight contender Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha walked away with a Unanimous Decision victory tonight at UFC Fight Night 100: “Bader vs Nogueira 2” in São Paulo, Brazil. Gadelha defeated Cortney “Cast Iron” Casey in featured action.
Gadelha controlled the majority of tonight’s fight on the feet and on the ground, and she was well on her way to a victory until she threw an illegal soccer kick that grazed Casey’s head in round three. The fight continued with no points deducted, and Gadelha prevailed on the judges’ scorecards.
Gadelha (14-2-0) connected with a hard combination early on that was met by a solid right hand from Casey (6-4-0) in close. Gadelha continued to flurry with punches and Casey initiated a clinch against the cage, but Gadelha broke free with a nice left hook. She took Casey down and punched from the top, but Casey kicked her off and stood up. She threw Gadelha to the mat and was immediately reversed before the bell sounded to end the spirited round.
The second round began with Gadelha tagging Casey with two right hooks, and she followed with more punches and an elbow after a brief clinch. Gadelha blocked a head kick and she kept the pressure on Casey with power punches and an emphatic takedown against the cage. The fighters stood and Casey walked her opponent down with punches, but Gadelha dropped levels and took her down again.
Gadelha scored a takedown early in round three, but time was called after she threw an illegal soccer kick that appeared to graze the top of Casey’s head. Casey stayed down for quite some time, and slow-motion replay was inconclusive as to how damaging the strike was. Action ultimately resumed and Gadelha was strangely not deducted a point. She rushed at Casey with punches and scored two more takedowns that led to a last-second arm-triangle choke attempt.
All three judges scored the fight 30-27 for Gadelha, who rebounded from her second loss to UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk in July and reaffirmed her status as the top contender in the stacked 115-pound women’s division.
Winner: Claudia Gadelha by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. She improves to 14-2-0.
(Photo Credit: UFC)