Carla Esparza and Alexa Grasso faced each other in a women’s Strawweight clash tonight (Sat., Sept. 21, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 159 inside Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, Mexico, only on ESPN+. Despite a brutal late flurry from Grasso, Esparza managed to have her hand raised.
The first exchange of the fight saw both women land power shot. Esparza then charged forward, landed a body shot, and ate a right hand. Esparza feinted low and then landed a good low kick. Good jab scored for Grasso. Esparza landed well with a right hand of her own. Esparza landed a low kick but absorbed a counter shot. Just before the midway point in the round, Esparza blasted her foe with a double leg and avoided a nice attempt at a reversal from Grasso. Esparza strangely backed off and let Grasso scramble up. Big — but sloppy — right hand scored for Esparza. Grasso stung Esparza with a counter right then denied a double leg attempt. Esparza drove her foe into the clinch and landed a head-and-arm throw. Grasso scrambled up with just 10 seconds remaining, managing to land a strong right hand before the bell.
Early in the second, Esparza did well to cut an angle on her takedown, which resulted in her securing top position within the guard. Grasso tried to throw up an armbar, but Esparza avoided the hold. From her back, Grasso continued to shift her hips and throw up offense, though it did not amount to anything major. Meanwhile, Esparza chipped away with small shots. With about 90 seconds remaining in the second round, Grasso was able to escape back to her feet when Esparza tried to take the back. “Cookie Monster” looked tired from such a long wrestling period, and she ate a right hand. Nevertheless, Esparza clubbed her foe with an overhand. Then, Esparza scored a power double leg with 30 seconds remaining to finish the round in top position — though she was nearly put in an armbar at the bell!
Esparza tried to throw a slow low kick to open the third and ate three punches as a result. Suddenly, Esparza landed a big right hand but ate a hard left hook on the counter, and her knees wobbled badly! Esparza literally ran away from the exchange and somehow it worked, buying her time to recover. However, Grasso continued to stalk, denying a few takedown attempts. After resisting a single leg shot, Grasso attempted to attack a kimura, but she wound up on her back with 2:30 remaining as a result. She hung onto the kimura, eventually transitioning into an extremely tight armbar! The former champion’s arm bent in unpleasant fashion, but she spun to safety and even remained in top position. Grasso worked back to her feet with just 20 seconds remaining, and the two immediately began to brawl. Esparza’s nose bled badly by the end of the round, but she did avoid getting finished.
Despite Grasso’s strong finish to the bout, Esparza picked up the first two rounds on two of the judges’ scorecards, earning her the nod. It was a hard-fought win, even if the local crowd did not like it one bit.
Result: Carla Esparza defeats Alexa Grasso via majority decision (29-28, 28-28, 28-28)
For complete UFC Fight Night 159: “Rodriguez Vs. Stephens” results and play-by-play, click HERE!