Carla Esparza did her best at UFC 281 but came up short.
“Cookie Monster” was submitted by Zhang Weili in the “Adesanya vs. Pereira” pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event last Sat. night (Nov. 12, 2022) at Madison Square Garden in New York City, coughing up her 115-pound title in the process. Her “Magnum” loss marked the second time the former TUF champ failed to defend her strawweight title.
“You win some you lose some, just part of this dangerous game we play,” Esparza wrote on Instagram. “No regrets, I worked hard and did my best. Thank you for all of the positive messages and comments, I haven’t had a chance to go through everything yet, so just wanted to let everyone know how I’m doing. NY pizza and cookies after the fight definitely help haha. I look forward to some time off, and to the next chapter.”
Esparza, 35, dropped to 19-7 in defeat but retains the No. 1 spot in the strawweight rankings. A rematch against Rose Namajunas is unlikely at this time; however, a Marina Rodriguez do-over makes sense on paper since both fighters are coming off losses and battled to a split decision — which ended in favor of “Cookie Monster” — back in summer 2020.
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