Carla Esparza won her second straight fight at UFC 219 by out-working the rising strawweight Cynthia Calvillo.
Carla Esparza is fighting for the third time this year, which is a rarity for a fighter that fought once a year from 2013 to 2016. Esparza is 2-1 in her last three and looks to start her climb back to redemption at UFC 219.
Cynthia Calvillo has taken the UFC by storm in 2017 with a 3-0 record coming into UFC 219. Calvillo is only 6-0 in her career but the Team Alpha Male fighter has turned heads with her pair of finishes and an impressive victory over top-ten staple Joanne Calderwood.
Cynthia Calvillo landed a counter right immediately to start the bout, then a wild exchange occurred in which both fighters landed. Carla Esparza landed a leg kick at the end of a missed combination. Calvillo then timed the next rush of Esparza and took down the wrestler with ease.
Calvillo began to work from half guard. Esparza was able to retain guard and shot for an armbar as Calvillo postured up. The submission was fairly deep before Calvillo stood up and threw Esparza off of her arm. Calvillo resumed working from side control, landing knees and elbows on the former champion.
Esparza worked her feet along the cage and attempted an inverted triangle that was defended quickly. Calvillo put the pressure on Esparza, who was attempting to stand up, landing several hard shots before going for a rear-naked choke. The fighters rolled back and forth until Esparza landed in guard and connected with several punches before the round came to a close.
Esparza landed a punch to start the second round then a leg kick. Calvillo landed a counter then ate a leg kick. Esparza landed a solid right hook, then defended a takedown attempt from Calvillo. Calvillo countered a kick with a right straight, then landed yet another counter right.
Esparza shot for a takedown but Calvillo defended flawlessly. Calvillo landed a pair of stiff jabs and defended another takedown. Calvillo landed a right and Esparza did the same. Finally, Esparza was able to take down Calvillo but not for long, as Calvillo bucked her opponent off.
A bit later in the round, Esparza landed another single leg takedown, but again Calvillo bounced back immediately. Esparza ended the round with one last takedown effort, but it was defended well by Calvillo.
Simultaneous punches landed to start the final round. A hard right hand landed for Calvillo, then she was able to defend a single leg takedown with ease, pushing Esparza to the fence. Calvillo exited the clinch and landed a solid right hand.
Esparza landed a pair of leg kicks, but wasn’t putting forth enough offense to discomfort Calvillo. Esparza then landed a combination off of a superman punch. A stiff jab landed for Calvillo, which was answered by a hard right from Esparza.
Calvillo shot for a takedown, but was countered by a headlock from Esparza, followed by a hard left hand. Again, Esparza landed a takedown that led to nothing due to a scramble from Calvillo. After the ten-second claps were heard, Esparza and Calvillo fired away with Esparza on the front foot.
Carla Esparza def. Cynthia Calvillo by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)