Esparza made history by becoming the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champion when she won The Ultimate Fighter 20, but her title reign was short lived.
Esparza, an accomplished wrestler, wasted little time trying to get the former multiple-time Muay Thai world champion to the ground. But Jedrzejczyk proved to be difficult to get down. Esparza secured a takedown, but Jedrzejczyk quickly worked her way back to her feet.
Esparza continued to try to get the fight to the ground, but was unsuccessful. In the closing moments of the opening round, Jedrzejczyk began landing punches regularly. Heading into the second frame, the momentum was heavily in Jedrzejczyk’s favor.
Esparza desperately tried to get her wrestling game working, but couldn’t break through Jedrzejczyk’s takedown defense. On their feet, the fight was one-sided. Jedrzejczyk established her jab. She landed elbows on the inside and set up hard right hands. Esparza showed her toughness by absorbing heavy shots, but at the 4:17 mark of the second frame, the referee had seen enough. Jedrzejczyk had Esparza against the cage unloading cleans shots.
After the stoppage, Jedrzejczyk collapsed to the canvas in emotion.
“I can’t believe (it). I was working so hard. I said that I was going to do it and I did it,” said the 27-year-old new strawweight champion. “When I’m on diet, when I’m preparing, everyday I’m 100-percent. That’s why I’m here.”
With her new belt in hand, Jedrzejczyk predicted that she’d hold the title for a long time.
“No one believed in my grappling and wrestling. I say I’m in the UFC, the best promotion in the world and I am a complete MMA fighter. Nobody is going to take this belt from me,” she said.
Esparza took the loss like a true champion does and made no excuses.
“I can’t take anything away from her. She had an amazing fight tonight,” said the former titleholder after the loss. “I didn’t feel myself, but there’s no excuses when it comes down to a fight. Only one person comes out with the win. She did a great job. She had great takedown defense, obviously. I feel like I wasn’t really setting it up, but that’s on me.”
“I’m not going to say anything affected my performance,” she said when asked about the pressure leading up to the fight. “There’s always things that go on in your life going into a fight: injuires, personal things. There’s never any excuses. I fought my fight and I lost tonight. She did a great job.”
Jedrzejczyk made history by becoming the first Polish fighter to win a UFC title. She extended her undefeated record to nine consecutive wins.
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