After three hard fought wins during season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter ,Carla Esparza defeated Rose Namajunas via third round submission at the finale to become the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champion. Now on Saturday, March 14, 2015, Esparza will look to defend for title for the first time against number one contender Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 185.

A two-time All-American wrestler at Menlo College, Esparza began training in MMA during her junior year of college. That superior wrestling base has and continues to play a huge role in her success as a fighter. Esparza’s ability to control her opponents and dictate where the fight takes place is a huge weapon.

Undefeated at 8-0, Jedrzejczyk is a dangerous opponent. A six-time world champion and a 4-time Europe champion in Muay Thai, Jedrzejczyk is one of the most decorated strikers in the women’s strawweight division, but Esparza has more than enough tools to take out the challenger.

Avoid the Clinch

As a wrestler, Esparza feels comfortable in the clinch, but against a Muay Thai practitioner like Jedrzejczyk it will be in her best interest to stay away from it. The clinch should be considered dangerous ground because Jedrzejczyk knows how to land knees and elbows effectively. Even though she isn’t a known knockout artist, Jedrzejczyk has shown flashes of power in the past.

Takedowns and Top Game

The most important thing Esparza has to do on Saturday is secure takedowns and work her top game. Jedrzejczyk has never faced a wrestler like Esparza. Esparza needs to look for the takedown early and often. Once on the ground, she can pepper Jedrzejczyk with ground-and-pound. On the top, Esparza has the tools to end the fight by either TKO or submission; it all depends on what kind of position Hedrzejczyk give up.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.