In a matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked strawweights in the world, Claudia Gadelha showed why she's the best 115-pounder in the world not named Joanna Jedrzejczyk as she made short work of former title contender Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 212.
It was a huge moment for Gadelha not only because she was fighting at home in Brazil but this bout also came after she left her old team and relocated full time to live in the United States.
Gadelha did not disappoint as she came out looking sharper than ever against a legitimate threat like Kowalkiewicz, who entered the fight with only one loss on her professional record and that came to the Jedrzejczyk last November.
While she's best known for her grappling, Gadelha looked confident on the feet during the early exchanges with Kowalkiewicz including a huge inside elbow that blasted the Polish strawweight after the two fighters got locked up in the clinch.
Gadelha looked confident in her striking but when she saw the opening to take the fight to the ground she grabbed onto the body lock before pulling Kowalkiewicz to the mat. From there it was all Gadelha as she quickly transitioned to take the back before looking for the finish on the ground.
A few seconds later, Gadelha latched her arms together in a rear naked choke and the grimace on Kowalkiewicz's face told the whole story as she had to tap out before going to sleep.
The end came at 3:03 into the opening round.
Afterwards, Gadelha reveled in her decision to move to a new camp as she celebrated a huge win to put her that much closer to a third shot at Jedrzejczyk at some point in the future.
"I am a new fighter," Gadelha proclaimed. "This is the new Claudia. It's going to be [expletive] hard to beat me."
It was a tough loss for Kowalkiewicz, who was emotional in defeat, as she suffers her second straight loss after starting her career with 10 straight wins.