Both Carla Esparza and Virna Jandiroba were able to show off their grappling skills at UFC Fort Lauderdale but it was Esparza who came out on top.
Carla Esparza is a former strawweight champion who is looking to turn things around. “The Cookie Monster” went into TUF 20 as the Invicta FC strawweight Champion and defeated Angela Hill, Tecia Torres, Jessica Penne, and Rose Namajunas to become the first UFC strawweight champion. Esparza was unable to defend her title after falling victim to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Since then, Esparza is 3-3, losing her last two fights to top contenders Claudia Gadelha and Tatiana Suarez.
Virna Jandiroba will be making her promotional debut at UFC Fort Lauderdale after one defense of her Invicta FC strawweight title. She’ll be replacing fellow former Invicta champion Livia Renata Souza for this contest against Esparza. Jandiroba is 14-0 with 11 submission victories and her last three fights coming under the Invicta banner. Check out our interview with Jandiroba here.
Carla Esparza opens the action by catching a kick from Virna Jandiroba and slamming her hard on the canvas. Jandiroba works from an open guard while Esparza tries to remain heavy from the top position. The Brazilian tries to sweep her opponent and creates enough space to get to her feet.
On the feet, Jandiroba lands an overhand right and then they both clinch. Both lands left hooks and they break. In open space, the former UFC champion shoots in on a deep double and gets Jandirboa down. She hits the Brazilian with two punches. Jandiroba works up to her feet and takes Esparza briefly down with a body lock. The Team Oyama product works up to the feet and they both battle in the clinch. The debuting fighter tries to take down Esparza with a whizzer but can’t gain the dominant position. The round ends with Esparza landing an overhand right.
Cageside Press Scored the First Round 10-9 Esparza
The second round starts with Esparza landing a right hand but can’t finish a double leg. Both fighters hit a combination. Esparza shoots from very far away and gets stuffed, however, she lands a shot on the break.
Jandiroba takes Esparza down with a perfectly timed double leg of her own. From the top, the BJJ black belt tries to pass but Esparza explodes to her feet.
Halfway throw the round, Jandiroba snaps Esparza’s head back with a right hand. She attempts to follow up and Esparza shoots in on a double leg and finishes it with a duck under. The Brazilian works to her feet and tries a judo throw. She can’t gain the top position but is able to break away from the position.
Esparza shoots in and Jandiroba locks in a guillotine choke. It looks tight. Esparza defends by rolling to her back and pops her head out. In a scramble, Jandiroba grabs the mount. Esparza scrambles again and is able to buck her to her back. The round ends with Esparza landing some grazing elbows.
Cageside Press Scored the Second Round 10-9 Jandiroba
Really close match heading into the last round.
Esparza jabs her foe to start the round. The Brazilian steps into the pocket but the former TUF winner takes her down with a high crotch single leg. The Brazilian tries to angle for position but Esparza is keeping some heavy top pressure with some small rabbit punches to the side of the BJJ black belts’ head.
Jandiroba scrambles to her feet and both exchange right hands. Esparza misses a takedown but lands a hard knee as they break.
Jandiroba works to the clinch and tries to grab a single. Esparza hops on her back and tries a rear naked choke. Jandiroba shakes her off and lands on top. She is looking for a head/arm choke but leaves an opening for the Cookie Monster to work back to her feet. Jandiroba lands a takedown to end the round.
Another very close round.
Cageside Press Scored the Third Round 10-9 Esparza (29-28 Esparza)
Carla Esparza def. Virna Jandiroba by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)