WATCH: When Carla Esparza Became the First UFC Strawweight to Submit Rose Namajunas in the Octagon

Published 05/21/2021, 2:30 PM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 24: Carla Esparza poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 24, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Former UFC women’s strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, is gearing up to face Yan Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 27. ‘Cookie Monster’ will enter the bout on the back of 4 successive wins on the trot.

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She had similarly entered her first UFC title fight in 2014 on the back of 4 successive wins. The American faced the current two-time strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas, for the first-ever women’s strawweight title fight.

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She submitted ‘Thug’ Rose in that fight to become the first-ever women’s strawweight champion

Carla Esparza vs Rose Namajunas- How it happened?

Both squared off at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20 Finale inside “The Pearl” in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 22-year-old, Namajunas, who entered the last bout after some impressive performance in the initial rounds, was the overwhelming favorite.

Esparza, meanwhile, had entered the tournament as the No.1 seed and was the favorite to capture the gold at the start. However, given Namajunas’ displays, ‘Cookie Monster’ entered the last bout as an underdog.

The match started with ‘Thug’ taking initial control with a flurry of high kicks. ‘Cookie Monster’ then attempted a takedown and was successful. She couldn’t capitalize, though, as Namajunas was quick to break free.

Namajunas continued her high kicks onslaught, but Esparza, who was up for the challenge, attempted multiple takedowns. As Rose broke free, she remained ahead on the scorecards.

The second round started with Esparza attempting ground strikes after a takedown. Namajunas briefly got out of the tangle, only to be put back on the canvas again by Esparza. ‘Cookie Monster’ got through Namajunas’ guard and proceeded into the mount. She then landed continuous shots from her top position to end the round on a high.

Esparza built on her momentum to the third round with a successful takedown attempt within 10 seconds. After putting some pressure on Rose, ‘Cookie Monster’ adjusted her position on the former’s back.

She then bludgeoned her with some punches, subsequently finding an opening and applying a fight-ending RNC.

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Will Esparza get the title shot next?

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Esparza (17-6) is certainly riding high after 4 back-to-back wins. In her last two fights, she beat Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson via split decisions.

UFC could look at a possible rematch with Rose Namajunas for the title as both have some history between them. But it will all depend on how Esparza performs in her match against the Chinese high flyer, Yan Xiaonan.

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Are we heading towards a Namajunas vs Esparza 2?

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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

552 articles

Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

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