Carla Esparza hands Marina Rodriguez her first career loss

Carla Esparza hands Marina Rodriguez her first career loss

Carla Esparza defeats Marina Rodriguez by split decision

The UFC’s last fight card from “Fight Island” before heading back to U.S. soil is a big one with seven fights on the main card.

The main event will feature two top middleweight contenders in former champion Robert Whittaker and former welterweight title challenger Darren Till.

This card also features former champions in Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Fabricio Werdum and Carla Esparza.

Esparza will be taking on Marina Rodriguez in an exciting strawweight bout.

Esparza (17-6) just fought in May at UFC 249. In that fight, was on the winning end of a very close split decision to Michelle Waterson. She is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, which the longest of her UFC tenure.

Rodriguez (12-0-2) is considered a future strawweight contender and tonight she has a chance to make a splash within the division. She is currently 3-0-1 in the UFC. The draw on her record came in her last fight with Cynthia Calvillo in December.

Here’s how their right went down with a round-by-round breakdown and scoring.

Round 1

Rodriguez has a stance like she’s waiting for Esparza to come in for a takedown. Whether or not she was prepared it doesn’t matter because Esparza shoots right in and scores a takedown.

Esparza is busy on top. Nothing significant is landing, but Esparza is doing enough to keep the position without having to have the referee stand them up.

Rodriguez has landed a few elbows from the bottom and Esparza is bleeding from the left eye, but is still on top of Rodriguez.

Esparza attempts for a leg lock and Rodriguez counters and is now on top of Esparza.

The two in a bit of a scramble and then come back to the feet and Rodriguez tags Esparza.

Esparza shoots back in for a takedown. It is stuffed and Rodriguez gets ahold of Esparza’s neck as the round comes to a close.

Good round with both fighters having moments. However, Rodriguez’s moments were definitely bigger.

MyMMANews scores it 10-9 Rodriguez.

Round 2

Rodriguez is tagging Esparza on the feet. She’s hitting Esparza with ease to start off the second-round.

Esparza scores a takedown with three minutes left in the round. Rodriguez is looking for a triangle choke, but can’t get one. Esparza is trying to generate some offense while in top position. Rodriguez is doing a decent job of defending, but Esparza is landing strikes.

Esparza now doing work to the body, and Rodriguez is trying to escape, but Esparza won’t let her her go.

Rodriguez is able to shake free when Esparza tries for a submission attempt and  then Rodriguez lands a few nice shots as the round comes to a close.

MyMMANews scores it 10-9 Esparza

Round 3

Esparza starts the final round with a lot of swelling over her left eye.

Fight is standing through the first 90 seconds, but neither fighter doing much.

Esparza lands a takedown moments later and lands a few heavy shots before Rodriguez gets back to the feet. They weren’t on the feet long though as Esparza scores another takedown.

Rodriguez is landing nice elbows from the bottom. Esparza is being a lot more offensive this round and is landing some punches. Esparza will not allow Rodriguez to get to her feet as we enter the final minute.

Rodriguez gets back to her feet with 24 seconds left in the round and Esparza just takes her right back down. Big final round for the former champion.

MyMMANews scores it 10-9 Esparza

MyMMANews scorecard: 29-28 Esparza

Official Result: Carla Esparza defeats Marina Rodriguez by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

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