Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza (11-3 MMA) returned to the octagon at tonight’s UFC 197 event in Las Vegas where she battled Juliana Lima (8-3 MMA).
Round one begins and there is a long feeling out process. Esparza comes forward with punches and Lima drops down for a takedown. Carla stuffs it but Lima presses her up against the fence. Esparza breaks free and is able to earn a takedown on Juliana. Lima with an armbar attempt but it is not there. Carla moves to half guard and begins landing shots. Esparza is looking to move to mount. Lima picks up on it and is able to fight her way back to full guard. Carla with a few shots from the top but Lima is defending really well. Less than 90 seconds left in round one. Good up-kicks from Lima land hard on Esparza. Carla works her way back to half guard and lands some left hands. Lima moves back to full guard position. Good hammer fists from Esparza. Round one comes to an end.
Round two begins and Lima is trying to find her range. Lima throws a kick but Carla catches it and lands a takedown. Esparza working from full guard now. Juliana is searching for a armbar but it is not there. Carla moves to half guard and begins landing some big shots on Lima. Juliana lands a nice elbow from the bottom but Carla is landing a good volume of strikes. Lima moves back to full guard position. Carla picks her up and slams her down from the position. Esparza is landing some good shots from the top. Lima looks for a leg lock and uses the attempt to stand back up. Lima earns a takedown but Carla bounces right back up. Esparza is bleeding as round two comes to an end.
Round three begins and Lima paws with the jab. Nice right hand scores for Carla. She quickly follows up with a takedown attempt that she lands clean. Esparza working from the full guard position. Carla is smothering Lima while landing some good shots. Lima fights her way back to her feet, but Carla instantly scores another takedown and winds up in side control. Lima uses a nifty sweep to wind up on top and in side control. One minute left. Lima is trying to setup a arm triangle choke but it’s not there. One last good elbow from Lima and round three comes to an end.
Carla Esparza defeats Juliana Lima via decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)