MMA

Former champ Esparza grinds out victory, puts halt to surging Calvillo at UFC 219

After spending the majority of the opening round on her back, former Invicta and UFC strawweight  champion Carla Esparza (13-4) was able to score a comeback victory against the now previously undefeated Cynthia Calvillo (6-1).

Calvillo hit a picture perfect takedown just before the fight hit the one minute marker, putting the grappling standout on her back, where she would stay for nearly the full duration of the round. Although Calvillo did take the round on all three judges scorecards, Esparza was the more active fighter on the ground; she attempted an armbar that got fairly deep and outstruck her opponent from the bottom. 

Esparza got the better of her opponent in both the second and third rounds by the volume and not necessarily the power of her strikes. She was able to mix in a couple of takedowns—Calvillo would pop right back up each time—to grind out a very hard-fought victory. 

Calvillo would express her disdain after the scorecards were read and at least some of the Vegas crowd would agree. That said, this fight was far too close for either fighter to get upset about the final decision. 

Esparza ends her 2017 campaign with a 2-1 showing; her only loss came to Randa Markos in February and it was of the split decision variety. For Calvillo, this was very much a breakout year for the California native. She posted a 4-1 record that featured three UFC PPV main card appearances.

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