Carla Esparza wrestles for win in UFC in return
The UFC’s first female strawweight champion Carla Esparza returned to the UFC octagon tonight at UFC 197 in Las Vegas, and she did so in spectacular form.
After more than a year layoff due to injuries and setbacks, “Cookie Monster” Esparza defeated Juliana Lima to improve her professional mixed martial arts record to 11-3.
Esparza used her wrestling experience to take the fight to the ground after her opponent, Juliana Lima found success on the feet. Esparza controlled the majority of the first round with ground and pound.
Esparza once again found success in the second round, getting the fight to the canvas, controlling the jiu-jitsu and wrestling aspect of the sport while scoring peppering shots to her opponent. Somehow in the exchange, possibly from one of the several upkicks from Lima, Esparza was split open and blood dripped from her head, down to the canvas and also onto the head and face of Lima.
In the third and final round, Esparza scored another takedown and worked her ground and pound for the better half of the five minutes. In the final 90 seconds, Lima was able to reverse the position but did not do enough to win the contest. Esparza went on to win a unanimous decision in her return to the UFC octagon.
28-year old Esparza captured the title in December 2014 after defeating Rose Namajunas in the Ultimate Fighter Season 20 Finale.
She then defended and lost her title to current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March of 2015. Esparza has been out of competition since, having undergone surgery and rehabilitation for a nagging injury.
Before winning the UFC title, Esparza had racked off five consecutive wins to include an Invicta Fighting Championships title in which she vacated in order to compete in the UFC.