The UFC women’s strawweight division was announced late last year and the inaugural UFC champion at 115-pounds will be determined following The Ultimate Fighter season 20, but we won’t have to wait until December to see the division debut inside of the Octagon.
Marc Raimondi of FOX Sports is reporting that a bout between two unbeaten strawweights — Claudia Gadelha and Tina Lahdemaki — is verbally agreed upon and will take place on July 16 at UFC Fight Night 45 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The event, which takes place at the Revel Casino Hotel, will be headlined by a match up between lightweight contenders Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Jim Miller.
Gadelha (11-0) had her contract bought out by the UFC when they absorbed a number of women’s strawweight fighters to compete in the upcoming season of TUF. Gadelha, who was expected to face off against former Invicta FC champion Carla Esparza before withdrawing due to illness, was initially expected to be a part of the cast but concerns over the inability to cut weight multiple times in a span of a few weeks led to her signing with the UFC directly.
She will now debut in the UFC against Lahdemaki (5-0).
Gadelha is one of the top women’s strawweight contenders in the world and she currently trains out of the famed Nova Uniao fight camp which includes UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and former UFC bantamweight title holder Renan Barao.
A win over Lahdemaki could set Gadelha up as one of the first challengers for the UFC women’s strawweight belt once a champion is determined.
Season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter will be coached by UFC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis and top contender Gilbert Melendez. The show will premiere September 10 on FOX Sports 1.