Unbeaten Brazilian prospect Claudia Gadelha makes her U.S. debut against April “La Princessa Azteca” Coutino at Element Fighting Championship 2: “Full Throttle” on June 9th in Dallas, Texas. The bout is expected to be contested at 125 pounds and was officially announced this past week.
Despite a lengthy hiatus from competition and a late change in opponent, Gadelha earned a Split Decision victory over Valérie “Trouble” Létourneau in her most recent bout on April 20th in Gatineau, Québec. She now faces off against Coutino, who makes her first appearance since January 2011.
Gadelha (7-0-0) has enjoyed a quick rise to fame in Brazil as one of her country’s most popular female fighters. The 23-year-old jiu-jitsu specialist has earned first-round submission finishes in five of her seven career bouts. Despite fading late in the fight with Létourneau in April, Gadelha’s ground control in the first two rounds was enough to earn her a razor-thin Split Decision victory in what was her toughest test to date. Gadelha is already scheduled to battle fellow Brazilian star Carina “Beauty But The Beast” Damm in August, but must first get past Coutino this Saturday.
Coutino (3-1-0) will have the hometown crowd on her side when she faces Gadelha this weekend, but she may have to overcome ring rust in her first bout in over 17 months. The 25-year-old opened her pro career with three straight wins including victories over HOOKnSHOOT tournament veterans Patti Lee and Jen Babcock. Two of her three triumphs have come by way of first-round TKO. Coutino suffered her first career setback in quick and brutal fashion at the hands of Heather “Hurricane” Clark on January 7, 2011. A lunging right hook ten seconds into the fight rendered Coutino unconscious and left her on the wrong end of 2011’s Knockout of the Year.
Now returning to the cage for the first time since the loss to Clark, Coutino looks to get back on the winning track in her home state while Gadelha hopes to build momentum before her showdown with Damm in August.
Element Fighting Championship 2: “Full Throttle” takes place this Saturday, June 9th, at The Palladium in Dallas, Texas.
(Photo Credit: Upper Brazil)