Joanna Jedrzejczyk defeated Claudia Gadelha last night to win “The Ultimate Fighter” finale in a dramatic unanimous decision.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk is almost as unbelievable as her last name is hard to spell. Get used to spelling and pronouncing her name now, because she’s not going anywhere for quite a long time. Joanna’s inspiring performance tonight was easily worthy of being a part of the UFC 200 card tomorrow.
After tonight, it should be just pay-per-view main events for Joanna, as I’m sure she gained a ton of fans with her performance. I went into the TUF series already being a big fan, became an even bigger fan after the show, and I find myself so moved by tonight’s performance that I had to write about it.
Jedrzejczyk willed herself to not only survive, but thrive, after Claudia Gadelha spent all of her energy in the first two rounds trying to hold her down. As a fan of Jedrzejczyk, you couldn’t be feeling too good early in the 3rd round. In fact, at one point I wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to mount any offense whatsoever.
After watching what happened to Amanda Cooper and Khalil Roundtree, it looked like more of the same for Jedrzejczyk . She spent the majority of the first two rounds on her back, having to expend immense energy in order to get to her feet. She was even knocked down twice, though both appeared to be caused more by momentum and balance, rather than Gadelha’s power.
Then in the 3rd round something happened. It wasn’t as impressive as a wheel kick knock-out, but it was just as important for Jedrzejczyk. She explained the moment when the momentum completely shifted her way, “she took me down, she was trying to control me, but it felt like she couldn’t do anything, anymore.” After that takedown, Jedrzejczyk was able to get to her feet much easier than before. And while it looked like Gadelha had spent herself, Jedrzejczyk looked like she could go all night?
“She took me down, she was trying to control me, but it felt like she couldn’t do anything, anymore.”
Moving on, Jedrzejczyk had weathered the proverbial storm, and the fight completely changed. The last half of the 3rd round and the rest of the fight belonged to Joanna. As strong as Gadelha had started, she faded in equally dramatic fashion. Jedrzejczyk slipped and dodged the majority of Gadelha’s strikes the rest of the way, and landed at will over and over again to her face. She outscored Gadelha 176 to 18 over the final 3 rounds. As the fight ended, Joanna raised her hands in victory as Gadelha appeared exhausted and beaten. Still though, there have been worse injustices in the past than it would have been for the judges to call Gadelha the winner. I wondered, and I’m sure fans wondered it too, “Claudia didn’t do enough to win the title did she?”
It has become a popular belief that one of the problems with judging in MMA is that they don’t utilize their ability to score dominant rounds 10 to 8. Tonight helped to show exactly why that belief has so much support. Jedrzejczyk received two “10-8’s” from one judge, and one from the other in the championship rounds of the fight to win 48-45, 48-46, and 48-46. Thanks to all 3 judges that worked the fight, I believe the final scorecard depicted almost exactly what had taken place. A picture of the actual card is shown here: http://mmajunkie.com/2016/07/photo-check-out-the-scorecard-from-joanna-jedrzejczyks-strawweight-title-win-over-claudia-gadelha
In the end, Jedrzejczyk accomplished both of her aforementioned goals. She defended her title and showed why she is a great champion. Late in the fight and after the fight, it was apparent that Gadelha had at least earned Jedrzejczyk’s respect. Jedrzejczyk showed it by offering her glove to be touched by Claudia, who reluctantly obliged.
When asked if Jedrzejczyk had anyone in mind to compete with her for the title at 115 pounds, she responded “I will be ready for anyone, the question is will they be ready for me?”