UFC 228 Results: Tatiana Suarez Dominates Ex-Champ Carla Esparza, Has Arrived As A Contender

Tatiana Suarez UFC
Tatiana Suarez Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

TUF 23 champ Tatiana Suarez dominated inaugural UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza at UFC 228, announcing her arrival as a title contender in a brutal beatdown of a wily veteran.

Topping the televised preliminary card at UFC 228 in Dallas on Saturday, former women’s strawweight champ Carla Esparza faced fellow Ultimate Fighter winner Tatiana Suarez in a fight that, while it wasn’t a title eliminator, would inch one fighter closer to a chance at Rose Namajunas. Truth be told, Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jessica Andrade would likely select the next title challenger. Yet Esparza vs. Suarez was no less important, as with the division wide open, the winner could be next in line — or the fighter called upon in case of injury.

With two fighters known for their grappling facing off, the question was, would they cancel each other out? Or would someone get the fight down? Turns out, Tatiana Suarez was able to early. Working from Esparza’s guard, Suarez was able to lift and slam her down, and land considerable ground n’ pound while controlling the former champion. Esparza was almost immediately showing swelling under her right eye, while Suarez worked in some slicing elbows. Esparza was completely trapped, unable to escape even when Tatiana Suarez began kneeing her body. Every time Esparza came close to freeing herself, Suarez would reposition, and drag her back into a bad spot.

Round two saw Suarez get the fight down early, but this time, Carla Esparza was able to make it back to her feet. She struggled to break free, however, and wound up trapped in another clinch along the fence. That led to another takedown, and with three minutes to go in the second round, it looked to be a long night for the former strawweight champion. She’d make it back to her feet again, but through the first two rounds, that was perhaps the only small victory for Esparza. Otherwise, she was completely dominated.

Round three saw Esparza again trying to fend off a takedown in the opening seconds. And while she came close to reversing, it wasn’t to be. Instead, she was taken down again. Once more, she made it back up — only to be slammed onto her back. Tatiana Suarez, impressively, had her way with the former champion. As the fight wound down, Suarez was move to mount, begun dropping even more ground n’ pound, and earn the stoppage win in the final minute!

With that statement win, there’s no doubt Suarez has arrived as a contender at 115lbs. Something not lost on her, who pointed out that she dominated Esparza, a fighter who holds a win over current champ Rose Namajunas. “Let’s just say she’d better put it in my mailbox” Suarez said of a title shot against the current champ.

Tatiana Suarez def. Carla Esparza by TKO, Round 3, 4:33


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