New UFC women's strawweight division to debut in July with Gadelha-Lahdemaki
JUN 11, 2014 1:59p ET
The new UFC women's strawweight division will debut next month.
Claudia Gadelha and Tina Lahdemaki have verbally agreed to a bout at UFC Fight Night on July 16 in Atlantic City, sources told FOX Sports. The card will air on FOX Sports 1. Women's strawweight is the second female weight class added to the UFC in two years. UFC officials have confirmed the bout.
Gadelha (11-0), from Brazil, is one of the top 115-pound women in the world. She was supposed to challenge for the Invicta FC women's strawweight title against Carla Esparza last December, but fell ill the night of weigh-ins and had to withdraw from the bout. Gadelha, 25, is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion and trains at Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro with the likes of UFC stars Jose Aldo and Renan Barao.
Lahdemaki (5-0) is not as well known. The Finland native has been competing for the Cage promotion in her home country and has finished her last two fights by submission, the latest via triangle choke against Karla Benitez in November. Lahdemaki has been fighting at 125 pounds, but will make the move down to 115 in the UFC.
Gadelha was acquired from Invicta with 10 other women's strawweight fighters to be on "The Ultimate Fighter 20." But because of a harsh weight cut and the inability to do it multiple times in a span of six weeks, she decided to not be a part of the show and just sign with the UFC directly. "TUF 20" will be the first all-female season of the reality show and also the first time a champion is crowned at the end.
The series will begin filming in July, and its season premiere is Sept. 10 on FOX Sports 1. UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and No. 1 contender Gilbert Melendez will be the coaches on the show.