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UFC 197: Carla Esparza dominates Juliana Lima after over a year away from the cage




She was the first strawweight champion in Invicta FC history and UFC history. And she got back on track tonight in Vegas after spending over a year away from cage following a brutal loss to current UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (11-0) at UFC 185 last March.

Carla “The Cookie Monster” Esparza (11-3) was able to use her strong wrestling base to take Juliana Lima (8-3) down at will. Esparza landed five takedowns, controlling the fight from top position for the majority of the fight earning her a unanimous decision victory (30-27 x 3) to maintain her #2 ranking in the strawweight division. Lima did land some strong upkicks from the bottom, blooding the former champion (who came into the cage with a noticeable cut on her lip) – but it wasn’t nearly enough to change the momentum in her favor.

#1 contender Claudia Gadelha (13-1) will rematch Joanna Champion for the strawweight title at the TUF 23 finale on July 8th. Here’s how the UFC strawweight rankings look today:

Champion: Joanna Jedrzejczyk

  1. Claudia Gadelha
  2. Carla Esparza
  3. Rose Namajunas
  4. Tecia Torres
  5. Valerie Letourneau
  6. Jessica Penne
  7. Paige VanZant
  8. Maryna Moroz
  9. Michelle Waterson
  10. Karolina Kowalkiewicz