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UFC on ESPN+ 40 results: Yan Xiaonan outpoints Claudia Gadelha for 11th straight win

Zhang Weili isn’t the only major player in the UFC strawweight division out of China.

Weili holds the belt, but Beijing’s Yan Xiaonan announced herself as a serious contender at 115 pounds Saturday night with her biggest win to date.

Xiaonan (12-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) rallied over the final two rounds to earn a unanimous decision over former title challenger Claudia Gadelha in the main-card opener of UFC on ESPN+ 40. The judges’ scores at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas were 29-28 across the board.

The victory gave Xiaonan her 11th straight win overall and sixth in the UFC, which is the longest active streak in her division.

Gadelha (18-5 MMA, 7-5 UFC) has always been known to push a fast pace, and it was no different Saturday. Gadelha controlled the tempo in the opening stanza with a pair of takedowns and got the better end of of the clinch work standing. After the second takedown in the round’s final minute, though, Xiaonan noticeably landed solid elbows from the bottom. And while that wasn’t enough to swing the round, it showed she wasn’t going away.

Indeed, the second round was much more to Xiaonan’s liking. She outstruck her opponent by a 2-to-1 margin, landing crisp jabs and and answering Gadelha’s single shots with with counter flurries as the latter began to falter

It was clear the fight was still in the balance as the final round wore on, and that it would be a matter of who wanted it more. Gadelha did her best to tie up Xiaonon in the clinch when she could, but never did much of anything with it. Referee Jason Herzog ordered a restart in the final minute, and Xiaonan was the far more active fighter as the seconds ticked off, firing jab after jab in what may have been the deciding sequence of the fight.

Xiaonan outlanded Gadelha in significant strikes over the course of the fight 63-33.

All six of Xiaonan’s UFC wins have been unanimous decisions. Gadelha had a two-fight winning streak snapped and is 3-3 in her past six.

The strawweight bout opened up the UFC on ESPN+ 40 main card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It aired on ESPN and streamed on ESPN+.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN+ 40 results include:

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