Yan Xiaonan


Obliterated by Carla Esparza
May 22, 2021
Yan lost to Carla Esparza via TKO (strikes) at 2:58 of Round 2 at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Competing in the biggest fight of her career and on the verge of earning a title shot with a victory, Yan was obliterated. It's impossible to envision a scenario in which this could have gone worse for her. Knowing full well that Esparza was going to lean on her wrestling, Yan threw a lazy, looping shot about ten seconds into the fight and found herself planted on her back the remainder of the round. It was more of the same in the second frame before countless unanswered shots forced referee Keith Peterson to (correctly) step in. Yan entered this fight having won her first half dozen UFC bouts. Her last three victories came over Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Angela Hill. She's gone up against and beaten quality competition, which makes this effort even more baffling. It's only one defeat, but Yan now finds herself miles and miles from title contention.
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Fighting Esparza in May
February 27, 2021
Xiaonan will fight Carla Esparza in a strawweight bout at a UFC event on May 22, MMA DNA reports.
The fight is expected to be a title eliminator. Xiaonan, who is ranked No. 3 and has won her last seven fights, will take on fourth-ranked Esparza, who has won her past four fights. The location of the fight has yet to be determined.
Puts strawweight division on notice
November 7, 2020
Xiaonan defeated Claudia Gadelha via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) at UFC on ESPN+ 40 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Xiaonan looked to have a speed advantage early, but Gadelha was unafraid of her power, jumping right in the pocket, landing a big left jab and taking Xiaonan down. Xiaonan got back to her feet, but spent the next few minutes getting muscled against the cage. Referee Jason Herzog separated the two, but Gadelha got another takedown. While Gadelha spent the rest of the round in top position, Xiaonan did get in a big elbow from her back. The second round swung the momentum in favor of Xiaonan, as she used the jab effectively to set up big combinations, putting her major speed advantage to use. Xiaonan spent a lot of time pressed against the fence in Round 3, but Gadelha's shoulders appeared to be tiring out, and Xiaonan landed short strikes when she could. The two were separated with a minute remaining and Xiaonan continued to pull away in the total striking numbers. Not only did Xiaonan look excellent against a former title contender, but she very much appears capable of going five rounds. This was very well the type of performance that could set her up for a title eliminator fight.
Fight to be pushed back
September 3, 2020
Xiaonan will fight Claudia Gadelha at the UFC event scheduled for November 7, MMAFighting.com reports.
It looked like originally Xiaonan was going to look for a new opponent for UFC 253, but it looks like she will ultimately opt to move the fight back to November due to Claudia Gadelha's injured knee. Xiaonan will be going for six straight Octagon wins.
Needs new opponent for UFC 253
September 1, 2020
The UFC will attempt to find a new opponent to take on Xiaonan (12-1-0, 1 NC) at UFC 253 on Sept. 26 after Claudia Gadelha (knee) withdrew from the strawweight matchup Tuesday, Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com reports.
If the promotion isn't able to book a new opponent for Xiaonan before the Sept. 26 event, she'll presumably look to put her 5-0 UFC record on the line at some point in October or November. Xiaonan most recently entered the Octagon in February, when she defeated Karolina Kowalkiewicz via unanimous decision in New Zealand.
Taking on Gadelha in September
July 6, 2020
Xiaonan will take on Claudia Gadelha in a strawweight fight for the UFC event set to be held Sept. 26 in Las Vegas, Raphael Marinho of Combate.com reports.
The strawweight bout has a yet-to-be-determined location, though Las Vegas is presumably the frontrunner if the fight is held stateside. Xiaonan last was in the Octagon in February when she defeated Karolina Kowalkiewicz via unanimous decision, improving to a perfect 5-0 under the UFC banner. Gadelha has won three of her last four bouts, but her last victory against Angela Hill was of the split-decision variety, and many thought she dropped that bout. Xiaonan has a one-inch height advantage, while both women have a 63-inch reach. Xioanan has nearly twice the striking volume of Gadelha, averaging 6.72 significant strikes per minute (albeit over a smaller sample size). Gadela has the edge in offensive wrestling, converting 3.13 takedowns per 15 minutes of fight time in her UFC run.