A potential women’s strawweight title eliminator is in the works for a UFC event on May 22nd, as Carla Esparza is set to face Yao Xioanan.
MMA DNA first reported the matchup, though the UFC is yet to officially announce the fight.
Esparza (17-6) has been on a tear at 115-pounds, winning her last four fights. The inaugural strawweight champion Esparza won split decisions against top contenders Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson last year. “The Cookie Monster” is undefeated since being stopped by Tatiana Suarez in 2018.
Xioanan (13-1, 1NC) has taken the UFC by storm since her promotional debut in 2017. “Fury” is yet a lose a fight, going 6-0 so far in her current UFC stint. The Chinese fighter’s last two wins have come against former title challengers Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Xioanan has not lost a fight since 2010.
The winner of Esparza vs. Xioanan could be in line for the next strawweight title shot, depending on how Zhang Weili vs Rose Namajunas goes down at UFC 261.