Carla Esparza became both the TUF 20 Ultimate Fighter and more importantly the UFC’s first ever strawweight champion tonight in las Vegas with a third round submission victory against Rose Namajunas.
The main event straweeight title fight is underway. Namajunas rushes out. They exchanges punches in close. Namajunas with a head kick attempt that just grazes her opponents head.
Namajunas with punches and kicks, but Esparza uses that momentum to get the first takedown of the fight. She can’t keep her opponent down though and Namajunas gets back up firing off more offense.
Busy start for Namajunas. Esparza lands a solid hook. Namajunas misses with a flying knee, but immediately follows up with strikes that do connect.
Esparza with a powerful takedown, but Namajunas springs upright straight away. Fast and furious pace here! Namajunas with a front kick to the face as she continues to be the aggressor on the feet.
Namajunas working some kicks now as Esparza moves on the outside. Suddenly Esparza bursts in on a takedown. She’s trying to let her hands go on the mat now, but that allows Namajunas to get back up. Esparza unleashes a flurry of punches though that backs her opponent up.
Back to striking range and then they clinch with some nice knees coming from Esparza. Final 10 seconds of a frantic opening five minutes and Esparza gets one final takedown.
Namajunas tries a side kick to the head, but it’s a little short. Nice punch for Esparza. She fakes a takedown and comes upstairs with punches.
Jumping kick to the head from Namajunas. Lots of versatility from her so far. Esparza with another takedown – lightning quick as she moves in on these. Nice elbows landing for Esparza. Namajunas trying to keep mobile from her back and tries to threaten with a submission so Esparza opts to back out and get back up.
Namajunas trying to get her striking going again, though she’s not putting her foot on the gas as much as in the opening round. As she comes in again Esparza lands yet another takedown. Two minutes of the round remaining as she tries to control the constantly active Namajunas and land some punches in the process.
Good spell for Esparza as she works from half guard and tries to improve to side control. Suddenly she pounces on full mount. Only 20 seconds to go but she’s starting to land lefts and rights. Namajunas turns her back against this offense and survives to the end of the round. Good round for Esparza.
Spinning backfist attempt from Namajunas misses. Esparza catches a kick and immediately get her to the mat. esparza trying to improve position and manages to get her opponent’s back.
She’s peppering Namajunas with punches and now moves to her back as she tries for a rear-naked choke with the body triangle secured too. And that’s it, Namajunas has tapped and Carla Esparza is the UFC’s first ever strawweight champion!
Terrific display from Esparza here to become the champ, while at just 22 years of age we’re undoubtedly going to be seeing a lot more of Namajunas in the UFC too.