Carla Esparza
The Cookie Monster

USA

Out
Injury Elbow
Est. Return 3/21/2020
Long medical suspension
strawweightUFC
Out
September 24, 2019
Esparza has been suspended 180 days pending nasal and right elbow X-rays, Marc Raimondi of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Esparza held on for the win at high altitude Saturday at UFC Mexico City, but she didn't come away completely unscathed in the process. While she did defeat a highly-regarded prospect in front of a hostile crowd, it didn't necessarily do a whole lot for her position in the division. She'll need to receive medical clearance if she wishes to book another fight before March of 2020.
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Earns win in enemy territory
strawweightUFC
Out
September 21, 2019
Esparza defeated Alexa Grasso via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Mexico City.
ANALYSIS
It was another hard working decision win for Esparza in which she used her wrestling game and brute strength to emerge victorious. Carla is a below average striker and she struggled in that area against Grasso, but she managed to land four of eleven takedown attempts to secure the win. Esparza also deserves a ton of credit for not tapping out to a very deep arm bar in the early stages of Round 3. Esparza has been overwhelmed at times during her time with the company, but she has still displayed more good than bad during her time with the UFC. The issue for Esparza moving forward is that it's nearly impossible for her to win if she isn't landing takedowns with regularity. She did just enough in that area to win this one, but that's not a guarantee moving forward. On a positive note, both women will walk away $50,000 richer after earning Fight of the Night honors.
Booked for Mexico City
strawweightUFC
Out
July 8, 2019
Esparza has been booked to take on Alexa Grasso in a strawweight bout at UFC on ESPN+ 17 on Sept. 21 in Mexico City, Nolan King of MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Esparza is coming off a victory over Virna Jandiroba via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 150 back in April, and that put an end to a two-fight losing streak that left her without a win for all of 2018. It was the first time the inaugural UFC women's strawweight champion had suffered back-to-back losses in her career, and she still boasts a 5-4 record under the promotion.
Grinds out decision in Fort Lauderdale prelims
strawweightUFC
Out
April 27, 2019
Esparza defeated Virna Jandiroba via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) at UFC Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.
ANALYSIS
Esparza closed as a slight betting favorite over the undefeated prospect, and used her veteran experience to come out ahead in a back-and-forth affair. She only won the battle of significant strikes by a margin of eight (unofficially), but was also credited with four takedowns and three advances over the 15-minute fight. Jandiroba was credited with three takedowns of her own, but Esparza was able to get up to her feet quickly or reverse the position in each occasion. She'll improve to 14-6 as a professional with the victory.
Gets new opponent at Ft. Lauderdale
strawweightUFC
Out
April 4, 2019
Esparza will now take on Virna Jandiroba in a strawweight bout at UFC Fort Lauderdale on April 27, Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Esparza was originally set to square off against former Invicta FC stawweight champion Livinha Souza, but an ankle injury has forced Souza to withdraw. Now, Esparza will get to go up against the promotions current titleholder after the UFC signed Jandiroba to serve as a replacement. Over his nine months with Invicta FC, Jandiroba went a perfect 3-0, and will now be in for a bout of champions with Esparza serving as the UFC's first ever strawweight champion.
Early addition to UFC Ft. Lauderdale
strawweightUFC
Out
February 23, 2019
Esparza will take on Livia Renata Souza at UFC Fort Lauderdale on April 27, Adriano Albuquerque of Combate reports.
ANALYSIS
Esparza has dropped back-to-back fights to Tatiana Suarez and Claudia Gadelha -- two elite opponents where there is no shame in taking a loss. The Suarez loss was quite lopsided, however, as she was taken down nine times and outlanded 82 to 6 in the striking department. She now gets a chance to bounce back against a 27-year-old on a very different career path, as Souza is 13-1 as a pro with a 2-0 start to her UFC career. Submissions are the bread and butter for Souza, so it's a good sign that Esparza hasn't been submitted since 2010, long before her UFC run began. While Esparza is skilled and experienced, she's essentially serving as a gatekeeper here so UFC brass can determine if the younger Souza is ready for top-tier competition.