Carla Esparza Ends Cynthia Calvillo’s Unbeaten Streak at UFC 219

Former champion Carla Esparza gets a big win over a highly touted prospect at UFC 219

Carla Esparza slowed down the hype surrounding Cynthia Calvillo on Saturday night as she handed the previously undefeated fighter her first loss in a featured bout at UFC 219.

Despite being a former strawweight champion, Esparza was a massive underdog going into the fight but the bout ended up razor close over three rounds as the two fighters went back and forth over all 15 minutes.

Calvillo started out very strong as she took Esparza to the mat early and began to unleash a strong ground attack that kept her in control outside of one submission attempt that she thwarted.

Unfortunately for Calvillo, she couldn’t duplicate that performance for the next two rounds with Esparza doing a great job with her footwork and striking while landing a series of hard, stinging right hands with great consistency.

While Calvillo was seemingly able to walk through Esparza’s best punches, she was still getting tagged again and again and that obviously caught the attention of the judges sitting cage side.

Esparza’s activity continued through the final five minutes with a constant barrage of leg kicks and punching combinations that kept Calvillo guessing on the feet.

When it was all over, the three judges agreed that Esparza had done more than enough to win with all the scorecards coming back 29-28 in favor of the former champion. Still, Calvillo left the cage dejected and upset at the decision.

Considering Esparza has a win over the current champion at 115 pounds, this win was obviously huge for her as she gets back into the title hunt.

“Everyone thinks of me more as a wrestler but it was the gameplan to beat her on the feet tonight. I’ve been working with my team on striking for a while now and I think the low kick was really effective in this fight,” Esparza said following her win. “There was a lot of hype around Cynthia coming into the fight but that just served more as a motivator for me. I may not be a trash talker but I prove myself each time I fight.

“Since I defeated Rose [Namajunas] for the inaugural strawweight title, that could be a fight that makes sense next but I’m here to fight anyone so I’ll talk to the UFC and see what they want to do.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.