The UFC Mexico main card is in progress, and the promotion’s #8 ranked strawweight Carla Esparza just squeaked by the #9 ranked Alexa Grasso with a majority decision. One of the judges scored it a draw. Esparza got to work early though, using her wrestling to control the fight across the first-two frames. Grasso rallied late in the third, hurting her opponent on the feet and nearly pulling out an armbar, but Esparza hung on to take the decision.
In his return to the UFC, Brandon Moreno was involved in a scrappy split draw with undefeated UFC noob Askar Askarov. The Dagestani had his moments early in the fight while the Mexican rallied and finished strong. Despite the outcome being a draw, this fun matchup actually seemed to be a win for everyone involved.
The promotion’s #10 ranked women’s bantamweight Irene Aldana was in top form tonight against UFC newcomer Vanessa Melo. Her boxing and footwork looked better than ever as she commanded the cage and ran away with the scorecards. Aldana has now won four of her last five UFC outings. The UFC Mexico main card started out with a bang when Steven Peterson hit a wicked spinning backfist to knockout Martin Bravo in the second round. It was quite a violent finish as well as a much needed win for Peterson.
Carla Esparza def. Alexa Grasso by majority decision (29-28 x2, 28-28): Strawweight
The hands of Esparza were landing early in the first round. She was throwing clean combos and connected on quite a few of them. Grasso threw back, prompting Esparza to shoot and take the fight to the mat. The fight quickly returned to the standing position, but Esparza took it right back down. Once again they stood, with Grasso landing some punches before the round ended.
Esparza chased down a takedown in the opening moments of the second act. Despite Grasso being highly active off of her back, Esparza remained on top position and dropped a couple of short shots. Back on the feet, Grasso clocked her opponent with a clean 1-2, which was probably her best strikes of the fight. Esparza went back to her takedown, and got it, to close out the round on top.
Grasso came alive in the final round. She hurt Esparza on the feet and chased her down, looking for the finish. Esparza managed to scoop a takedown, but Grasso locked up an extremely tight armbar. Somehow, Esparza hung as tough as ever and miraculously escaped the hold. Grasso got back to her feet and landed a bit more before the final bell.
How did Esparza not tap?! Unreal! #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/12LEqK4QSI— UFC (@ufc) September 22, 2019
Brandon Moreno and Askar Askarov went to a split draw (30-27, 28-29, 28-28): Flyweight
Askarov closed the distance within the first minute of the fight. He was able to get Moreno to the ground and went right to the back. Moreno stayed savvy and worked his way into the guard of Askarov. Back on the feet, Moreno clipped his foe with some clean punches, but Askarov seemed to absorb them rather well.
Moreno was winging his hands to open the second round. Askarov responded to the aggression by taking the fight down to the mat, but just couldn’t hold down Moreno for very long. Up and down the fighters went in typical flyweight fashion. Back in open space, Moreno dropped Askarov with a well-timed head kick, followed by a stalemate on the ground for the closing moments of the round.
Moreno switched things up and secured a takedown of his own to start the final frame. He actually had success controlling Askarov on the floor and sprinkled in some ground and pound to boot. Moreno then took the back and racked up even more control time as the clock ticked away.
A crazy exchange in round 2 ends with a shin to the chin that drops Askarov! #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/MrgUqFq3GH— UFC (@ufc) September 22, 2019
Irene Aldana def. Vanessa Melo by unanimous decision (30-26 x3): Bantamweight
Melo started out throwing her hands but missing most of her shots. Aldana fought on the back foot, throwing her punches down the middle and finding success. Although she was coming forward, Melo struggled to cut off the cage and connect with her strikes. The second stanza looked a lot like the first. Melo pressed forward as Aldana played the outside. Melo found more success in landing her punches, but Aldana was just as sharp as she was in the previous round.
Melo rushed to close the distance in the final frame but Aldana was ready for her. The straight punches continued to be effective. Her stick and move style held up throughout the entire fight, showing off descent polish on her feet. She didn’t let up down the stretch either. She poured it on late, trying to finish, to leave absolutely no doubt in the judges’ eyes as to who won this one.
**It should be noted that Melo weighed in at 140-pounds
Steven Peterson def. Martin Bravo by KO at 1:31 of round 2: Featherweight
Bravo found himself an early takedown in the first round, but Peterson was quick to get back to his feet. Back on the feet, Bravo started to let his kicks go, and then scored a quick knockdown with his hands. He was all over Peterson. Peterson came out swinging in the second act, and Bravo was content to return fire. Just when it looked like a barn burner was about to about to ensue, Bravo missed with a spinning backfist but Peterson hit with one of his own. Bravo was unconscious upon impact. Peterson dropped the hammer with an academic hammerfist before the referee came flying in to stop the fight. Yikes!
OUT. COLD.@8Ocho08 puts Bravo out with a beautifully timed spinning backfist! Wow! #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/e6Gn7RPYB4— UFC (@ufc) September 22, 2019