Claudia Gadelha returns to the Octagon in September against top-10 opponent

Claudia Gadelha

UFC women’s strawweight star Claudia Gadelha will return to the Octagon in September when she takes on Yan Xiaonan at a newly-revealed UFC event in Las Vegas.

Gadelha vs. Xiaonan was first revealed by Combate. The fight is set to take place on September 26 at a yet-to-be-announced UFC card in Vegas. It is so far the first fight to be announced for this new event. It is not yet known if this card will be a numbered event or a Fight Night, but with UFC 253 set to take place on September 19, it stands to reason that Gadelha vs. Xiaonan will be part of a Fight Night event.

Gadelha (18-4) is the No. 6 ranked women’s strawweight in the UFC. The 31-year-old Brazilian made her UFC debut back in 2014 and has so far racked up an 8-4 record while fighting in the Octagon. She is currently riding a two-fight win streak over Angela Hill and Randa Markos in her last two fights, and she’s won three of her last four overall with a decision win over former champion Carla Esparza coming before a loss to Nina Ansaroff.

There was talk of a potential rematch between Gadleha and Esparza, but the UFC decided to go in a different direction as Esparza was booked against Marina Rodriguez and Gadelha was booked against Xiaonan. Judging from the matchmaking, it seems like the UFC considers both Gadelha and Esparza gatekeepers at this point of their careers rather than legitimate title contenders in the stacked UFC women’s strawweight division.

Xiaonan (12-1, 1 NC) is the No. 10 ranked women’s strawweight in the UFC. The 31-year-old China native is unbeaten in the UFC with a perfect 5-0 record including notable wins over the aforementioned Hill, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, and Kailin Curran. She has been fighting in the UFC since 2017 and has quietly made her way up the women’s strawweight ladder, although Gadelha is of course a big step up in competition for her.

There are no betting lines yet for this bout but given Gadelha’s body of work in the UFC, she will likely enter the fight as the betting favorite. Then again, Xiaonan has been impressive in the UFC and hasn’t lost a fight since 2010, so she will likely made for a popular underdog bet if the oddsmakers decide to open her as the dog here. Either way, it should be a good fight and a good test for both women.

Who do you think wins, Claudia Gadelha or Yan Xiaonan?