The only women’s fight on the main card will feature two top-ten strawweight contenders, each looking to advance in the rankings and get closer to a title shot against Weili Zhang. Claudia Gadelha is 18-4 with two finishes, one knockout and one submission. She is 7-3 in the UFC and is currently riding a two-fight win streak, which includes decisions over Randa Markos and Angie Hill.
Yan Xiaonan is an exciting young talent in this division. She’s 5-0 in the UFC, all decisions. She has decision victories over Angie Hill and Karolina Kowalkiewicz in her last two, and is 12-1 as a professional with four knockouts.
Gadelha is a well-rounded fighter with great body strength and a strong grappling acumen. She’s a jiu jitsu black belt and an excellent wrestler with great control skills and strong submissions, though she has only finished one in her career.
On her feet, Gadelha is a measured striker who keeps her opponents off with her jab. She picks her spots to press forward and throw hooks, and she is active with low kicks. Claudia fights a style which looks good on scorecards, and stolen a few decisions late because of it.
Yan Xiaonan is a disciplined and advanced striker who can land shots with all eight limbs. She fights at an excellent pace and doesn’t give her opponents much room to breathe. She has a stiff jab and fast straights. Xiaonan strings together combinations very well, and has solid power for a women’s strawweight.
Xiaonan has also showcased some very solid wrestling fundamentals, and is much physically stronger than she looks. She has very strong takedown defense, and it may not be as easy for Gadelha to get her to the mat as some people think. In fact, we think Gadelha will struggle to bring Xiaonan to the canvas, and that’s really where Claudinha needs the fight to be in order for her to win.
If the fight does stay standing, look for Xiaonan to keep the pressure on and point out a decision. The striking volume and variety from Xiaonan is going to be too much for Gadelha to handle standing. Even if she is able to get the fight to the ground, we don’t see it staying there very long.
You can bet on this one to go the distance with a high level of confidence. Xiaonan is too strong to be put in a scenario in which Gadelha can find a submission, and Gadelha is too good to be knocked out in this one, but we don’t see her coming out on top.