UFC 231’s strawweight battle between Claudia Gadelha and Nina Ansaroff should propel the winner into instant contender status in the 115lb division, with a potential title eliminator against Tatiana Suarez a possibility.
Since the day Joanna Jędrzejczyk lost the UFC women’s strawweight title, the division has picked up a lot of speed. Currently considered the hottest division in all of women’s MMA, the 115lb weight class will take an important turn at UFC 231, when former title challenger Claudia Gadelha takes on Nina Ansaroff. The two enter the fight with a lot of momentum behind them and the match-up will decide who stays in the title picture.
Gadelha is a long time division stalwart and is regarded as one of the best female pound-for-pound MMA fighters. She stands with a record of 15-3, which includes wins over the likes of former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz, former Invicta FC atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki, former title challenger Valérie Létourneau, and more. She enters the fight coming off an impressive win over ex-champion Carla Esparza. And thanks to a divisional shake-up, she’s also in striking distance of the belt. As Gadelha had lost twice to Jedrzejczyk, her chances of getting another crack at the title looked bleak. However, when Joanna lost the title to Rose Namajunas at UFC 217, Gadelha again entered the title picture thanks to her amazing resume.
Standing in Gadelha’s path will be Nina Ansroff. Ansaroff enters the fight with a record of 9-5, with wins over the likes of former Invicta FC champion Angela Hill and Randa Markos. She enters the bout at the peak of her career thus far, on a three fight winning streak. Ansaroff hasn’t lost a fight in the last two years and has never looked better. After being on the receiving end of some bad decisions in the early years of her UFC career, she has shown improvement few could have imagined.
Gadelha enters the fight as a considerable favorite given her past performances. However, considering the improvement shown by Ansaroff in her past few fights it would be folly to write her off completely. This fight is going to be a fun, competitive scrap, that’s for sure. The winner becomes an instant contender, and may be likely to face the wrestling titan of the division, Tatiana Suarez, in a potential title eliminator.
UFC 231 takes place Saturday, December 8 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The card airs exclusively on PPV in North America after televised and online prelims, and on BT Sport in the UK. In India, the card airs on Sunday December 9 live on SONY TEN 2 and SONY TEN 2 HD.