UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt- Yan Xiaonan vs Carla Esparza: Main Card Prediction and Analysis

Published 05/21/2021, 1:51 AM EDT


The co-main event for UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt sees a strawweight clash between Yan Xiaonan and Carla Esparza. ‘Fury’ Yan and Esparza, who sit at numbers 3 and 4 in the division respectively, are knocking on the door of a title shot. Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk are the only two fighters ahead of them in the rankings at the moment.

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The strawweight is undoubtedly one of the best divisions in the UFC currently with competitive match-ups across the board. The belt recently changed hands, leaving Rose Namajunas as the new divisional queen. Carla Esparza, who was the first to hold the belt, will want to enter the champ status bracket once more.

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UFC Vegas 27: Yan Xiaonan vs Carla Esparza

Fury’ Xiaonan is on a six-fight win streak and is coming off a win over former title challenger Claudia Gadelha. She hasn’t lost a fight since September 2010 and the only break in momentum came via No Contest in 2016. She’s defeated the likes of Angela Hill and Karolina Kowalkiewicz in her run. A win over a former champion will see her next in line to fight for gold.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 07: (R-L) Yan Xiaonan of China punches Claudia Gadelha of Brazil in a strawweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Yan Xiaonan is well versed in the striking department and she’s able to provide various looks. She relies more on continuously peppering her opponent with strikes as compared to looking for the one-hitter quitter. What’s more, when it comes to cutting off the cage, very few can match her speed and angling attempts.

‘The Cookie Monster’: Back to the strap?

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Carla Esparza is on a four-fight win streak. ‘Cookie Monster’ edged out a split decision against Marina Rodriguez in her last contest. She bounced back from two straight losses and has successfully changed the course of her career. The former 115-pound champion knows that a fifth win on the bounce will get her a shot at Rose Namajunas.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 26: (L-R) Carla Esparza punches Marina Rodriguez of Brazil in their strawweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 26, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Esparza is a force to be reckoned with on the ground and she’s begun seriously increasing her ground offense. Xiaonan could find herself swarmed on the canvas if she finds herself mounted by Esparza. Furthermore, she’s unlikely to be baited in by flashy techniques and keeps a steady pace while fighting.

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Prediction: Carla Esparza to claim a split decision victory

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Darryl Pinto

1882 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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