A women’s strawweight bout between former champion Carla Esparza and top contender Yan Xiaonan is targeted for a UFC Fight Night card in May.
MMA DNA was the first to report that Esparza vs. Xiaonan will take place on the May 22 card that currently does not have a location announced for it yet. Other fights that have been announced for this event see Felicia Spencer taking on Danyelle Wolf in the UFC women’s featherweight division, Raulian Paiva vs. David Dvorak in the men’s flyweight division, and Rodrigo Nascimento vs. Alan Baudot at heavyweight. No main event has been released for this event as of yet. It’s possible Esparza vs. Xiaonan could headline, but it’s possible that this could be the co-main event on this card, too.
Esparza (17-6) is the former UFC women’s strawweight champion and the No. 4 ranked 115lber in the UFC at the moment. The 33-year-old American has been in the UFC since 2014 and is 8-4 overall while fighting many of the best women’s fighters in the sport. Esparza holds notable victories over Rose Namajunas, Marina Rodriguez, Michelle Waterson, Nina Ansaroff, and Alexa Grasso. Esparza is currently riding a four-fight win streak and has won six of her last eight fights overall.
Xiaonan (13-1, 1 NC) is the No. 3 ranked women’s strawweight in the UFC. The 31-year-old China native is undefeated over her last 12 fights, having not lost since back in 2010. She is a perfect 6-0 in the UFC wins over Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, and Angela Hill. Many analysts believe Xiaonan has championship potential, so this fight with Esparza is very important to her title run.
The winner of this matchup between Esparza vs. Xiaonan could very well take on the winner of UFC 261’s main event between champion Weili Zhang and the aforementioned Namajunas. It’s a bit surprising, then, that the UFC didn’t double up and put this other matchup on the card for insurance purposes, but perhaps that’s a hint that something else could potentially be in the works.
Who do you like in this matchup between Carla Esparza and Yan Xiaonan?