Two women walked into UFC 219 Saturday night looking to inch closer to a UFC Strawweight title shot. #9 Carla Esparza edged out #6 Cynthia Calvillo to take that step.
The former champion Esparza clearly dropped the first round to the much less experienced Calvillo, but battled back to surprise her opponent with a unanimous decision win. When the scorecards were read, the 30-year old Calvillo was in shock.
Below is an excerpt of our live coverage from the show below.
Round Three: The round begins with Esparza just swinging away at Calvillo, Esparza continues attacking Calvillo with striking combinations. Calvillo grabs Esparza and she holds her against the cage wall, the fighters separate and Esparza also attacks Calvillo with some leg kicks. Esparza attacks Calvillo with a superman punch before eating a right, Esparza charges forward and swings away at Calvillo. Calvillo grabs a kicking Esparza and she gets her against the cage wall, Esparza breaks free to pop Calvillo with a left hook. Esparza then cracks Calvillo with a multiple punch combination, Esparza scores a takedown and Calvillo gets right back up. The fighter swing away at each other as the round ends.
Fightful scores the round 10-9 for Esparza (Final Score: 29-28 for Esparza)
Official Result: #9 Carla Esparza def. #6 Cynthia Calvillo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Calvillo capped off what was actually her first full year as a pro fighter, debuting in August of 2016 after battling arm injuries. Esparza has won three of her four fights since losing the championship in 2015, and holds a win over current champion Rose Namajunas. In all, Esparza has victories over five ranked UFC fighters, including her TUF exhibition bouts.
You can see our full, live coverage of UFC 219 at this link, staff predictions at this link, several of our fighter interviews on the show at this link, and our live, post-show podcast at this link.