Carla Esparza
The Cookie Monster

USA

Set to fight May 22
StrawweightUFC
February 27, 2021
Esparza will take on Yan Xiaonan in a strawweight bout at a UFC event on May 22, MMA DNA reports.
ANALYSIS
The fight is expected to be a title eliminator. Esparza has won her last four fights, most recently beating Marina Rodriguez in a split decision. Her opponent, Xiaonan, is on a winning streak as well, winning her last seven in the octagon. The location for the fight has not yet been determined.
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Upcoming fight canceled
StrawweightUFC
October 9, 2020
Esparza will no longer be facing Amanda Ribas at UFC 256 on Dec. 12, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The matchup had been verbally agreed upon but was never actually finalized, and it eventually fell through for undisclosed reasons. Ribas is expected to remain on the card against another opponent, though Esparza could still square off against her at some point in 2021.
Poised to fight at UFC 256
StrawweightUFC
September 8, 2020
Esparza will take on Amanda Ribas at UFC 256 on December 12, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Esparza has won her last four bouts with her most recent being a split decision over Marina Rodriguez in late July. This December showdown will be at strawweight. Amanda Ribas will be coming in on a five fight win streak.
Hands Rodriguez first pro loss
StrawweightUFC
July 25, 2020
Esparza defeated Marina Rodriguez via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
ANALYSIS
It was a typical Esparza effort in the sense that it was a slow-paced fight that was not visually pleasing to watch. Almost all Esparza victories fall into the "grinding" category and this was no exception. Esparza absorbed plenty of damage from Rodriguez, but she also landed 5-of-9 takedown attempts and spent a good portion of the bout controlling the Brazilian on the mat. Esparza's striking has actually improved since her early days, but it's still not a strength, and she is at a disadvantage whenever a fight remains on the feet for an extended period of time. Esparza's wrestling game is championship-caliber, but there are enough holes in the rest of her game to likely prevent her from reaching the mountain top at 115 pounds once again.
Fight pushed back 10 days
StrawweightUFC
July 6, 2020
Esparza's strawweight matchup against Marina Rodriguez has been rescheduled for July 25 on Fight Island, Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
This was a matchup that was originally scheduled for July 15 and thought to be called off after one of the cornermen of Rodriguez tested positive for COVID-19. Presuming the fighters and remaining teammates have all tested negative, it appears the fight will simply be pushed back 10 days. Esparza is currently listed as roughly a (+130) underdog for the matchup.
Fight removed from July 15 card
StrawweightUFC
July 3, 2020
Esparza will no longer face Marina Rodriguez on the July 15 card after one of Rodriguez's corners tested positive for COVID-19, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Neither Esparza nor Rodriguez has tested positive for the virus, but the UFC is taking an abundance of caution to avoid a larger spread that could affect a larger portion of the card. Esparza will thus have to wait a little longer for a chance to extend her three-match winning streak.