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Yan Xiaonan to fight Claudia Gadelha at UFC 253, has her eyes set on Zhang Weili

LockerRoom Team
27 August 2020

Chinese UFC Strawweight Yan Xiaonan will face former title challenger Claudia Gadelha at UFC 253 on September 26 card. The 31-year-old Chinese fighter is ranked No.10 in her division and is undefeated with a 5-0 UFC record. Yan is not only looking to extend her winning streak, but another win could put her within range to challenge country- mate Zhang Weili for the title.

Yan, the first Chinese female fighter signed by the UFC, was born in Shenyang, China. She began training in traditional martial arts and Sanda from age 13 and is currently training at China Top Team with Chinese UFC pioneer Zhang Tiequan and UFC Welterweight veteran Li “The Leech” Jingliang. Yan’s last fight was a dominant win over another former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz in February 2020. That victory made her the first Asian fighter to achieve a 5-fight winning streak in the UFC.

Gadelha, 31, is now on a 2-fight winning streak and is currently ranked No.6 in the Strawweight division. Yan is confident that she can defeat the tough Brazilian opponent, commenting: “I know she is a good grappler, but I have no problem fighting her. Most of my previous opponents are strikers, I hope I can prove my grappling ability this time. And I have confidence in my takedown defense as well.”

A win for Yan could mean an all-China championship battle. Zhang Weili, the current Strawweight title-holder, became the first Chinese UFC champion with her win over Jessica Andrade at UFC on ESPN+ 15. Zhang’s success has made her a household name in China. Yan has never hidden her ambition of taking the belt from her Chinese peer. “I felt very happy for Weili when she won the title, but I also came for the belt. If there is a title fight between me and her, an all-China championship battle, which will be the biggest night for MMA in China ever.”

Yan Xiaonan is currently managed by Paradigm Sports Management which handles the careers of a global roster of elite combat sports athletes, including Conor McGregor, Israel Adesanya, Leon Edwards, Michael Page, and Cris Cyborg.

Image Courtesy: UFC

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