Claudia Gadelha, Leslie Smith Win Big At UFC Fight Night 45History was made tonight when the UFC’s women’s strawweight division officially debuted at UFC Fight Night 45: “Cerrone vs Miller” in Atlantic City, New Jersey. BJJ black belt Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha earned a big win over Tina “Jelly Bean” Lähdemäki in the UFC’s first 115-pound female fight.

In other action on the UFC Fight Night 45 preliminary card tonight, veteran standout Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith battered TUF 18 quarterfinalist Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke en route to a commanding first-round TKO win. Smith picked up her first Octagon victory with the impressive stoppage.


Gadelha (12-0-0) opened tonight’s historic fight with lead left hooks that were quickly answered by right hands from Lähdemäki (5-1-0), who held her own in the striking exchanges. Gadelha landed three hard knees to the body and she slammed Lähdemäki down to the mat. She struck from the top and passed from half-guard to mount. This forced Lähdemäki to give up her back and Gadelha used ground and pound to set up two neck crank attempts, but Lähdemäki defended well until the bell.

Gadelha countered punches from Lähdemäki by slamming her back down to the ground in round two. She avoided an omoplata and maintained back control as Lähdemäki returned to her feet. After the fighters were separated, Gadelha attempted a spinning backfist and Lähdemäki replied with a quick flurry. She cut Gadelha on the nose with more punches and the fighters traded right hands before the end of the close second round.

Lähdemäki stuffed a takedown in round three and she landed kicks and punches as Gadelha began to slow down. Lähdemäki remained effective with her punches until Gadelha closed the distance and took her down. She struck from Lähdemäki’s guard until Lähdemäki kicked her off and stood up. Big right hands landed for both women and Gadelha secured another takedown before the end of the fight.

Gadelha’s ground control proved to be the deciding factor on the judges’ scorecards and all three judges sided with the Brazilian. Scores were 30-26 and 30-27 twice for the 25-year-old Gadelha, who remains undefeated in her mixed martial arts career and makes history as the first woman to win a fight in the UFC women’s strawweight division. Gadelha will most likely challenge the TUF 20 winner for the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship in early 2015.

Winner: Claudia Gadelha by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. She improves to 12-0-0.


In featured bantamweight action, Smith (7-5-1) put on one of the best performances of her career in victory over Duke (3-2-0, 1 NC), who has now dropped back-to-back bouts. Smith scored with lead left hooks early in the fight and she backed Duke up with right hands. Duke fired back with an uppercut and she caught one of Smith’s kicks, but Smith freed her leg and she unloaded with punches, knees and a head kick. Duke could not get her back off of the cage and Smith continued to tee off with big knees and punches to the liver until Duke collapsed to the canvas and the fight was stopped.

Tonight’s aggressive performance was reminiscent of Smith’s time with Invicta Fighting Championships, where she was involved in many of the promotion’s best fights. She credited her victory tonight as her biggest to date and now takes a step back up the 135-pound women’s rankings. Duke, who may find herself on the UFC’s cut list after her second straight defeat, suffered a broken hand in the brief bout.

Winner: Leslie Smith by TKO (Knees & Punches) at 2:24 of round one. She improves to 7-5-1.


  1. Great win for Smith, whose potential is almost limitless. Hope she pockets a $50k performance of the night bonus. Very sorry for Duke, especially as she suffered a broken hand. That could have come from blocking those kicks to the head from Leslie, which were vicious. No way Duke gets cut though, she will be back and she will yet win in the UFC. She just needs a bit more experience.

  2. Love Leslie Smith. Big fan.
    I see no reason to keep Duke, when they cut Rosi Sexton and Sheila Gaff under similar circumstances.