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Carla Esparza and Alexa Grasso are ranked 8th and 9th respectively at strawweight. They will both be looking to ascend the rankings latter when they meet inside the Octagon on Sept. 21 for UFC Fight Night 159 in Mexico City. As they get their game plans ready, look into some numbers that might just define their pivotal encounter.
Octagon ExperienceEsparza was awarded the inaugural UFC strawweight title after winning the 16-woman tournament on The Ultimate Fighter 20. In the finals, which took place on Dec. 12, 2014, she defeated Rose Namajunas via submission in the third round. While she lost the belt on her first defense to Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Esparza remained competitive the entire time. After nine UFC fights, she has amassed a record of 5-4.
Grasso entered the UFC on Nov. 5, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 98, where she decisioned the more experienced Heather Clark. She then alternated wins and losses, and, after five fights, has a record of 3-2.
Common OpponentsTatiana Suarez, who remains undefeated in the Octagon. She needed only 2:44 to dispose of Grasso by rear-naked choke. Meanwhile, Suarez versus Esparza was out-and-out murder. She outstruck Esparza by an outrageous margin of 82-6 and eventually stopped her at 4:33 of the last stanza.
Markos also gave Grasso a great fight, and it likewise ended in a split decision. The latter outstruck the former 64-45 but wasn’t able to take her down. Markos, for her part, took the Mexican to the ground four times.
Knockout RateFour out of Grasso’s 11 victories have come via KO or TKO, making for a 36 percent knockout rate. She started her career with three straight knockouts in regional promotions. Then, in her second fight in Invicta FC, she starched Alida Gray inside the first round to score her fourth knockout victory.
With three TKOs out of 14 victories, Esparza owns a 21 percent knockout rate. She started her career with a TKO victory and later scored two more at the expense of Sarah Schneider and Lynn Alvarez in Invicta FC.