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Carla Esparza issues statement following UFC 281 title defeat to Weili Zhang

Carla Esparza lost her strawweight title to Weili Zhang at UFC 281.

Carla Esparza lost her strawweight title in her first title defense against Weili Zhang at UFC 281.

‘Cookie Monster’ entered the fight on a six-fight winning streak coming off an upset decision win over defeated champ Rose Namajunas at UFC 274. She lost to Zhang in the UFC 281 co-main event after being trapped in a rear-naked choke at 1:05 of the second round.

UFC 281 marked Esparza’s first title defense since March 2015 when she suffered a devastating TKO loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk and lost her strawweight title at UFC 185. She has been unable to defend the belt despite winning the championship two times, with two previous title victories over No. 1-ranked strawweight Namajunas.

Esparza issued a brief statement on Instagram following her loss to Zhang, writing: “You win some you lose some, just part of this dangerous game we play. No regrets, I worked hard and did my best.”

Esparza will look to bounce back from her latest defeat when she returns to the Octagon next year.