Carla Esparza was able to utilize her wrestling to gain the upperhand against Marina Rodriguez tonight at UFC On ESPN 14 and secure a split decision victory.
Right hand lands for Rodriguez. Another punch attempt from here and Esparza immediately grabs for a single leg and takes Rodriguez to the mat.
Esparza has the center of the Octagon here as she starts to work from in Rodriguez’s guard. She postures up and lands a nice right hand. Now body punches from Esparza.
Esparza posturing up at times and applying head pressure, but not getting too many punches off. Rodriguez trying to work a higher guard and then lands elbows from her back. Esparza slams Rodriguez.
Another attack from the bottom by Rodriguez and she opens up a cut to the left eyebrow, which also swells up. Esparza continuing to control on top, but then Rodriguez manages to kick her off and then ends up on top.
Final minute of the round and Rodriguez blasts her with elbows. Esparza driving forward and trying to get back on top. It doesn’t work out though and they go back to striking range.
Rodriguez with a head kick attempt that’s just blocked. Now Esparza working again for a takedown in the final moments of the round, but doesn’t quite get it.
Leg kick from Rodriguez. Right hand from the Brazilian and then another behind it. Another punch and then a leg kick for her.
Another leg kick attempt and Esparza tries to grab it for a takedown, but doesn’t get it. Again Esparza trying to get in on her legs, but not able to. That’ll be concerning for her against the taller, longer opponent.
However, Esparza is relentless as she gets in on her legs again and secures the takedown.
Esparza pressing her weight down onto Rodriguez from inside her guard as Rodriguez lands a few short punches to the head from her back.
Three cuffing punches from Esparza land. She postures over Rodriguez and lands a few more punches. Body punches now. Rodriguez kicks her away to get a little space, but as she tries to stand, Esparza rushes back in and keeps her on her back.
Esparza has Rodriguez pressed lengthways against the cage. Esparza attempts a foot lock now, but doesn’t quite have it and it allows Rodriguez to start landing some punches to her already bloodied face.
Back to the feet they go and Rodriguez threatens with a knee. Esparza trying to go for the takedown again as the round ends.
Front kick to the body misses for Esparza and Rodriguez lands a leg kick. Straight right for Rodriguez now.
First attempt at a takedown this round from Esparza, but Rodriguez avoids it. Esparza trying a head kick.
Esparza with a single leg attempt and gets Rodriguez down and starts landing some left hands. Rodriguez able to stand back up with Esparza landing a punch as she does so.
Back to striking range, but Esparza brings her down again in the center of the Octagon. Back to working from inside Rodriguez’s guard now.
Esparza gets space to drop down a series of nice elbows to the head. Esparza stands up postured over Rodriguez. As she goes back down into her guard Rodriguez tries for a triangle choke attempt, but Esparza escapes and remains in the dominant position.
Elbow strike from the bottom for Rodriguez. Final minute of the fight. Esparza stands up and almost landed an illegal kick there as Rodriguez was standing.
Before Rodriguez can get anything going herself from striking range Esparza swoops in for a final takedown and is starting to pass her guard as the round comes to a close.
Esparza’s takedowns and top control help her eek out a split decision victory (29-28, 28-29, 30-27).