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Aisling Daly is one win away from a UFC title bout, says coach John Kavanagh

The Dubliner faces Claudia Gadelha on 11 April.

UFC fighter Aisling Daly and coach John Kavanagh.
UFC fighter Aisling Daly and coach John Kavanagh.
Image: Dolly Clew

AISLING DALY COULD secure a shot at the UFC women’s strawweight world title in Poland on 11 April.

That’s the view of Daly’s coach John Kavanagh, who believes the top contender spot is up for grabs against Claudia Gadelha at UFC Fight Night 64, which is set to take place in Krakow.

Ranked number two in the UFC’s 115lbs division, Gadelha will carry the tag of favourite into the bout against Daly (ranked ninth), as the 26-year-old Brazilian aims to return to winning ways following the first loss of her career.

In December, Gadelha was edged out via split decision against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who dethroned Carla Esparza in impressive fashion to clinch the world title earlier this month.

“I think this fight between Ais and the Brazilian girl has gone a little bit under the radar,” Kavanagh told The42. “For me, that girl arguably beat the now champion. Their fight was super close and a different set of judges might have seen it differently.

“In my opinion, this fight is for the number one contender spot. But it has gone a little bit underneath the radar. Ais has been in phenomenal shape in the gym lately, physically and mentally. It’s a contest I’m really looking forward to.”

The meeting of Daly and Gadelha will be the first of two upcoming Ireland versus Brazil bouts in the UFC, and it offers SBG an opportunity to get the upper hand against the Nova Uniao camp ahead of the clash of Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight title on 11 July.

“It’s also interesting as it’s our first time meeting Nova Uniao in the cage. She (Claudia Gadelha) is a team-mate of Aldo, so it’d be nice to get that first shot in,” Kavanagh added. “Obviously the result won’t have an impact on the other fight, but a win won’t do any harm either.”

Like her opponent, Daly will be competing for the first time since December, when she looked impressive en route to a first-round submission of Alex Chambers in her UFC debut in Las Vegas.

Gadelha will provide a tougher challenge for the 27-year-old Dubliner, but Kavanagh is confident that it’s one she can overcome.

He said: “I think Ais is a more disciplined fighter. The Brazilian girl, I’ve watched her fights and I think she’s brilliant. Like a lot of Brazilians, she’s super passionate and puts everything into it, but she’s maybe a little bit reckless.

“Ais definitely has that switch she can hit if she wants to go Tasmanian devil style, but she also listens and can follow a gameplan. I think the discipline side of things is what’s going to steal it for her.”

John Kavanagh was speaking at a Tiger Uncage event at House on Leeson Street, Dublin.

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