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.
In what was an eventful and drama filled season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, we are set to crown the first ever UFC strawweight champion.
Former InvictaFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza and InvictaFC star Rose Namajunas will square off for the initial title Friday on the TUF 20 Finale live from Las Vegas on Fox Sports 1.
Esparza (9-2) looked impressive in her semi-final bout with former InvictaFC atomweight champion Jessica Penne. Esparza’s volume striking and takedowns were key in the three round battle, which saw Penne stand in the pocket and chase Esparza. All three judges gave Esparza 30-27 on the score cards.
Esparza’s road to the finals included a rear naked choke over Angela Hill, a majority decision win over Tecia Torres, and the unanimous decision over Penne.
Namajunas (2-1) got her second kimura win in the tournament to guarantee her spot in the finals. Namajunas defeated Randa Markos in the second semi-final using her BJJ skills from bottom to transition to a kimura to get the tap in round 1.
Namajunas’s road to the finals saw her submit all of her opponents, including a rear naked choke over Alex Chambers and a kimura over Joanne Calderwood.
Semi-finalists Jessica Penne and Randa Markos will square off as well on the TUF 20 Finale and will kick off the main card.
They also announced the match order of the rest of the fights Friday, with all but two of them airing on Fox Sports 1.
Here is the schedule for Friday
Fox Sports 1 Main Card (9 p.m. est/6 p.m. pst)
Main event – Carla Esparza vs. Rose Namajunas – initial strawweight title
In pro MMA at PeruFC, Mariana Moraes defeated Cristina Mejía by unanimous decision
In boxing in New York, New York, Heather Hardy defeated Elizabeth Anderson by unanimous decision.
In action Thursday at Circuito Team Nogueira in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Juliana Velasquez defeats Priscila de Souza by unanimous decision in a pro MMA bout. In amateur action, Karoline Martins defeated Nicole Ball by knockout.
At OneFC Friday morning, Ana Julaton defeated Walaa Abas by unanimous decision and Jujeath Nagaowa defeated Tharoth Sam by TKO round 2.
Cyborg Justino has given up on going to 135 for now.
The InvictaFC featherweight stated to MMA Fighting her injury has delayed the cut and she is questioning if she can even make 135.
The plan is for Justino to defend her 145 title at InvictaFC’s 11th event in February. We are expecting an announcement Friday night during InvictaFC 10 on the location and opponent.
On Wednesday’s episode of TUF 20, two fighters advanced to set the semi-finals.
Former InvictaFC champion Carla Esparza defeated Tecia Torres in a grudge match. Esparza’s wrestling is what gave her the edge in the majority decision win. Esparza will face another former InvictaFC champion in Jessica Penne in the semi-finals.
The other semi-final saw Rose Namajunas submit Joanne Calderwood by kimura. Namajunas used her bjj skills to attack Calderwood. Calderwood tried to make up ground with strikes in round two, but Namajunas was able to get the kimura on the ground to get tap. This was the first time Calderwood was submitted in an MMA competition. Namajunas will face Randa Markos in the semi-finals.
V3 has announce an amateur bantamweight title match in Memphis for January 24 pitting two top amateur prospects.
We have us a challenger for the undisputed V3 female champ, Amberlynn Orr (8-1) will take on Alyssa Vasquez (6-4).
It will most likely be streamed and we will have more info closer to the event.
Gina Carano made a visit to the CSA gym in Dublin, CA this past week. CSA is home gym to Alexis Davis, Zoila Gurgel, and Miriam Nakamoto among others. She was just visiting there and not there to train, at least no seriously.
On the podcast Sunday at 1 p.m. pst/4 p.m. est, we will talk to InvictaFC’s Marion Reneau, who was supposed to be fighting Friday night. We will review the action from the card, and her aspirations in the promotion.
On Saturday, undefeated Ashlee Evans-Smith will make her UFC debut taking on Raquel Pennington in Las Vegas. Both Smith (135.5) and Pennington (136) made weight.
Smith (3-0) won the CSA featherweight tournament last year and soon signed to the World Series of Fighting. She got the TKO over Marciea Allen in June and was waiting for another fight. She was released from the WSOF just as the UFC offer came around.
TUF 18 vet Pennington (4-4) is coming off a close loss to Jessica Andrade this past March. Pennington won her official UFC debut with a decision over Roxanne Modafferi.
The fight will kick off the UFC televised prelims on Fox Sports 1.
MMA Super Heroes will close its year with two female bouts.
Tournament champion Renata Baldan is lookig to recover from her first loss as she takes on Luciana Treze. Also, Karina Santana de Oliveira takes on Mariana Leonardo in a flyweight bout.
In other pro bouts:
At Roshambo in Australia, Megan Anderson takes on Zoie Shreiweis
Ariel Beck faces Angela Hayes at Fightforce on Butte, MT
At Maringá Combat in Maringa, Parana, Brazil, Hevellyn Moura battles Hilana Rezende
Jessica Zomchik fights Stacey Sigala at Gladiators of the Cage in Pittsburgh, PA. In amateur action, Jena Baldwin takes on Jamie Driver and Melissa Gasdick faces Sarah Click
In amateur MMA:
At Conflict MMA in Hardeeville, SC, Jenna Fox faces Annie DeCresente
At SGB in Ireland, Jaye Hayes battles Sinead Kavanagh
In a pair of bouts at British Challenge MMA in Colchester, Essex, England, Jaye Haynes fights Sinead Kavanagh and Wendy McKenna faces Ameesha Bhudia (125)
At Cowboy Extreme Fighting in San Antonio, Texas, Dominique Gallegher-Gonzales takes on Stephanie Builderback and Laurie Ashby battles Brandi Narvaez (115)
In a pair of bouts at Rumble at the Roseland in Portland, OR, Chun Yang fights Hailea Brooks and Kalyn Schwartz takes on Lisa Spangler
Yumi Matsumoto faces Danielle Alfapada at King of the Cage in Las Vegas, Nevada
At Matrix Fights in Philadelphia, PA, Serena DeJesus battles Amanda Kramny
Victoria Franco fights Makana Clemons at Kingdom 3 in Houston, TX
Undefeated Nicole Wesner will look for her first world titles as she takes on Gina Chamie for the vacant WIBF and vacant WBF lightweight title in Vienna, Austria.
Wesbner (8-0) has only started as a pro two years ago, but has stayed active on her run to a title match. Chamie is the former WBC Youth lightweight title holder.
WBC World flyweight champion Shindo Go will look to defend her title for the third time as she takes on Arely Mucino in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico.
Go (14-2) is on a four fight win streak and has 9 KOs to her credit. She has yet to be stopped. Mucino (20-2) if the former interim WBA and IBF World flyweight champion .
In Sonora, Mexico, Jackie Nava will defend her WBC and WBA super bantamweight title against Sayda Mosquera.
Nava (30-4) won her past seven fights, gaining the belts along the way. Undefeated Sayda Mosquera (7-0) is the current WBC Latino female bantamweight champion
In Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Sonya Lamonakis and Carlette Ewell will fight in a rematch for the vacant IBO World heavyweight title. The two faced each other in 2012 and fought to a draw.
Lamonakis (9-1-2) is coming off back to back wins and is the current New York State heavyweight title. Ewell (15-7-1) is returning after a two year absence since her draw with Ewell.
Karine Rinaldo will defend her EBU female super bantamweight title against Nevenka Mikulic in Corse-du-Sud, France.
Rinaldo (10-1-1) won the vacant title this past June with a TKO win over Marianna Gulyas. Mikulic (4-2-1) has finished in all but one of wins.
In other boxing bouts:
In a pair of bouts in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, Vanesa del Valle Calderon takes on Valeria Almiron and Valeria Vanesa Gramajo faces Natalia Vanesa Lopez
Shelly Gibson battles Simone Hoyte in Georgetown, Guyana
In Emilia Romagna, Italy, Simona Galassi fights Evgeniya Zablotskaya
In a pair of bouts in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Jelena Mrdjenovich dukes it out with Pasa Malagic and Kandi Wyatt takes on Lita Mae Button
Sabrina Giuliani faces Farida El Hadrati in Puy-de-Dôme, France
In Differdange, Luxembourg, Caroline Thea Andre battles Gabriella Vetro
After an eventful promotional week for TUF 20, several sites are reporting the teams and opening round matches for the show, which will have its two hour premier Wednesday on Fox Sports 1.
Team Pettis (Green) : Alex Chambers, Felice Herrig, Carla Esparza, Joanne Calderwood, Ais Daly, Randa Markos Thomas, Jessica Penne, and Justine Kish
Team Melendez (Purple): Rose Namajunas, Heather Clark, Emily Kagan, Angela Magana, Tecia Torres, Lisa Ellis, Angela Hill, and Bec Rawlings.
After the teams were selected, they seeded the competitors and had each match have a representative from each time. The opening round matches contain two epic rematches – Penne vs. Ellis and Clark vs. Herrig. Here is the complete list:
Rose Namajunas vs. Alex Chambers
Heather Clark vs. Felice Herrig
Joanne Calderwood vs. Emily Peters Kagan
Aisling Daly vs. Angela Magana
Tecia Torres vs. Randa Markos Thomas
Jessica Penne vs. Lisa Ellis
Carla KristenEsparza vs. Angela Hill
Justine Kish vs. Bec Rawlings
The start of the season begins Wednesday oin Fox Sports 1.