Carla Esparza was the strawweight champ for a hot minute before she ran into Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Now she’s just a TUF winner with an impressive resume and some scars. Maryna Moroz would love to earn a shot at the belt, and though she’s a way off from deserving it, a win over Esparza would certainly give her a boost.
Moroz is tall and lanky and Esparza verges of being a hobbit, so from the outset Moroz tries to keep her at distance with her jab while the TUF winner tries to time her takedown attempts and not get killed. After two and a half minutes Esparza is successful with a double-leg takedown, and after about a minute of her having to wiggle out of a guillotine, she delivers just a tiny bit of ground and pound before the horn.
Moroz is all about the sprawl-and-brawl in the second, constantly sticking her knuckles in her opponent’s face and protecting her hips whenever Esparza shoots. She’s mostly able to keep herself from going down, although Esparza does score with about a minute and a half left in the round. Eventually Moroz wall-walks back up, and time runs out with them on the feet.
Whatever defense Moroz had against the takedown pretty much goes out the window in the third, and Esparza is able to get her horizontal again and again. The former champ even manages to punch her in the face, so there’s no question who’s taking this round.
Results: Carla Esparza def. Maryna Moroz via Unanimous Decision