Joanna Jędrzejczyk Retains Title, Tatiana Suarez Padilla Wins TUF 23UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk successfully retained her title with a hard-fought victory tonight at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jędrzejczyk rallied in the later rounds en route to a Unanimous Decision win over rival Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha.

Tonight’s championship rematch was a long time coming for Jędrzejczyk and Gadelha, who first clashed in late 2014 when Jędrzejczyk eked out a razor-thin decision win. Also tonight, Tatiana Suarez Padilla submitted Amanda Bobby “ABC” Cooper in the TUF 23 women’s strawweight final.


Jędrzejczyk (12-0-0) was dropped and nearly mounted by Gadelha (13-2-0) in the opening seconds of tonight’s main event, but she battled back to her feet and the fighters traded punches. Gadelha secured a takedown into half-guard and she landed a series of punches before Jędrzejczyk could stand back up. The round ended with Jędrzejczyk throwing kicks to the body.

Gadelha flurried with punches and took Jędrzejczyk back down in round two. She scissored her legs around Jędrzejczyk’s right calf in order to keep her pinned down while punching Jędrzejczyk in the face. Jędrzejczyk eventually got back to her feet and landed elbows before reversing a takedown. Gadelha tried for a heel hook on the ground, but Jędrzejczyk avoided danger.

From that point forward, momentum shifted in favour of the defending champion as a fatigued Gadelha slowed down. Gadelha did secure two takedowns in round three, but Jędrzejczyk escaped to her feet both times and began to pick Gadelha apart with kick-punch combos. Gadelha landed a stinging elbow late in the round, but Jędrzejczyk recovered and replied with hard elbows of her own.

Jędrzejczyk dominated round four with superior speed and technique on the feet. She easily outstruck Gadelha with kicks, punches and standing elbows. Gadelha landed a handful of right hands, but she struggled to find her range against Jędrzejczyk, who frequently switched her stance and snapped Gadelha’s head back with jab-cross combos.

With the fight up for grabs heading into round five, Gadelha clinched in search of a takedown, but Jędrzejczyk defended well and broke free with punches and a head kick. She tripped Gadelha later in the round, then beckoned for her to get back to her feet. In the final minute, Jędrzejczyk landed flurries of punches and elbows that sealed the round and the fight in her favour.

Scores were 48-45 and 48-46 twice for Jędrzejczyk, who made the third successful defence of her title and totalled her second victory over Gadelha. The fighters largely made peace after the fight, which ended a bitter feud that intensified during filming of The Ultimate Fighter 23. Jędrzejczyk is now 6-0 inside the Octagon, and is one of the most skilled strikers in the UFC today.

Winner: Joanna Jędrzejczyk by Unanimous Decision (48-45, 48-46, 48-46) after five rounds. She improves to 12-0-0 and remains the UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion.


Earlier on the main card, Suarez Padilla (4-0-0) escaped from early submission scares and forced a tapout from Cooper (1-2-0) to become this season’s female winner.

Suarez Padilla took Cooper down early in the opening round and worked from the top in her guard until Cooper countered with a slick armbar from her back. Suarez Padilla stayed calm and freed herself, but Cooper continued to hunt for submissions and she locked on a guillotine choke after the fighters briefly stood. Suarez Padilla escaped and rained down punches from the top, then locked on a Brabo choke as Cooper attempted to get back to her feet. The choke was tight and Cooper tapped out repeatedly before referee John McCarthy stopped the fight.

Suarez Padilla, who has fought through adversity throughout her life, including a successful battle with cancer, received a six-figure UFC contract for her season-ending victory. The 25-year-old standout wrestler is unbeaten in her MMA career and now begins her quest to become a future UFC champion.

Winner: Tatiana Suarez Padilla by Submission (Brabo Choke) at 3:43 of round one. She improves to 4-0-0 and becomes the TUF 23 Women’s Strawweight Winner.



(Photo Credit: UFC)