The former InvictaFC champion proved once again why she is meant to wear the gold.
Carla Esparza defeated Rose Namajunas to win the first ever UFC strawweight title at the Ultimate Fighter 20 finale in Las Vegas Friday.
Esparza (10-2) used her wrestling to control Namajunas on the ground and neutralized her BJJ. Esparza would get the back and sink in the rear naked choke at 1:26 in round 3. The win not only came with the belt and the title of “Ultimate Fighter 20 winner”, she also got “Performance of the Night” for the event.
Esparza’s only losses come by the retired Megumi Fujii and the current #1 Unified ranked Jessica Aguilar. It is expected the winner of Saturday’s fight between Claudia Gadelha and Joanna Jędrzejczyk will face Esparza in her first title defense.
The main card opener saw TUF 20 semi-finalists Jessica Penne and Randa Markos battle in what won “Fight of the Night”. Markos’s striking proved somewhat effective, but it was Penne’s ground game that proved the edge in what was a split decision.
In the other six fights:
- Felice Herrig showed a skilled ground game against wrestler Lisa Ellis to get the armbar at 3:05 of round 2.
- Heather Clark pressed the action and landed some nice boxing combinations in her unanimous decision win over Bec Rawlings.
- Joanne Calderwood went to war against Korea’s Seo Hee Ham. Both had crisp striking and Muay Thai, but Calderwood’s length and height overwhelmed the former DEEP-JEWELS champion to give the Scotswoman the unanimous decision
- Tecia Torres put on a striking clinic on Angela Magana to get the overwhelming unanimous decision win.
- Aisling Daly proved her ground dominance once again as she got the armbar over Alex Chambers at 4:53 of round 1
- On the night’s opener, Angela Hill used her vast Muay Thai experience and her new wrestling defense to take a unanimous decision over Emily Kagan.
The TUF 20 Fight of the Season bonus went to Rose Namajunas and Joanne Calderwood. Namajunas and Randa Markos would take the Performance of the Season bonuses.