Carla Esparza Says Experience Will Give Her The Edge Over ‘Friend’ Tatiana Suarez
Two friends will be locked inside the Octagon at UFC 228 when UFC strawweights Carla Esparza and Tatiana Suazrez go toe-to-toe in Dallas, Texas.
Esparza is coming of the back of a split decision loss to Claudia Gadelha but has shown big improvements since losing her title to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2015.
Speaking to MMANytt.com this week, the former champion revealed she has a friendly relationship with Suarez and that she’s known her since their younger years working up through the local scene.
“I’ve known here for years, we actually grew up together on the local circuit,” Esparza said. “I’ve known of her for a long time and she’s actually been my friend for many years. As far as looking at her on a professional level and looking at her as a fighter, I think she’s a great grappler and a two time world medallist in wrestling on the women’s circuit.
“She brings that that great grappling game and she has a great front headlock. I think her jiu-jitsu is still a little green, but her guillotine and D’Arces flow nicely from her wrestling so she does a couple of things very well, but I’ll be aware of that.”
Whilst having a lot of respect for her grappling, Esparza hasn’t been so impressed with Suarez’s work on the feet. Despite winning TUF season 23, Esparza still think she has a lot to learn.
“I don’t think she’s shown a lot of versatility in her striking so far, but she’s still young in this sport,” Esparza said.
“I think as far as the fight goes, I think she will try turning it into a wrestling match and try to impose her will on me. I know what to expect though and I’m going to more than ready for her.”
Esparza will walk into the Octagon with three times the amout of fights as Suarez having fought professionally already 18 times. Come fight night, Esparza thinks that her experience will be a big advantage.
“I think the numbers and the fights speak for themselves,” Esparza said. “You will have seen the type of fights and wars that I’ve been in. It gives me a lot of confidence to overcome anything that anyone can throw at me.
“I think she’s been in there and dominated a lot of people and who is to say what’s going to happen, but if it goes into deep waters, I think my experience in the cage is going to give me that edge over her.”