Alexa Grasso (@1.72) vs Carla Esparza (@2.1)
22-09-2019

Our Prediction:

Alexa Grasso will win

Alexa Grasso – Carla Esparza Match Prediction | 22-09-2019 21:45

He has trained in Muay Thai. Aside from combat sports, "Juice" enjoys delving into politics, film and music. Victor has also covered events from Invicta FC, the World Series of Fighting and Combate Americas. He hosts a weekly MMA podcast, iFox with Juice, with his co-host, Rina Parsegian. Victor "Juice" Vargas has been covering combat sports since 2015 and has followed MMA since 2009. He has written for MMA Wreckage, Last Word on Sports, and Fight News Australia.

She is only 26 years old and continuing to evolve as we saw in her last fight. Grasso is 3-2 in the UFC but she has fought some of the best strawweights in the world, losing only to Felice Herrig which was a controversial decision and Tatiana Suarez who is mauling the division at the moment. She is a solid grappler but stood and traded with the stand-up specialist Kowalkiewicz and outclassed her to earn a unanimous decision.

Alexa Grasso

Carla Esparza enters this fight with a 14-6 record and has won 50 percent of her fights by decision. Esparza has split her last eight fights and is coming off an April win over Virna Jandiroba. When Esparza is able to get her hands on her opponent, she likes her chances to control the fight and eventually come out victorious. Esparza has now won seven of her 10 career decisions and has a chance at one of her bigger victories under the UFC banner. This will be Esparzas first career fight in Mexico. Esparza has a background in wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, so shes often looking for the takedown where she can unleash effective ground and pound on the canvas or throw elbows and knees in the clinch. Esparza is averaging 2.14 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 39 percent. Esparza snapped a two-fight losing skid with a dominating performance where she landed 76 percent of her strikes and produced four takedowns. Esparza lands 29 percent of her significant strikes on the ground. Esparza is averaging 3.47 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 36 percent.

I also dont think weve seen the best from Grasso, whatever thats worth. From just a style point of view, the edge should probably go to Esparza. This is the fight where I would expect Grasso to have issues, as Esparza is going to clinch, mix it up with knees and elbows and possibly take this thing to the canvas where she can wear her down. Her technique is so good and fun to watch if youre a fan of boxing, I cant help but root for her to do well and continue climbing the rankings. Grasso wants to standup and box her way to victory, and shes proven to be ineffective and sometimes panicky when shes taken out of her comfort zone. With that said, Im a big fan of Grasso and sometimes go with my heart when shes fighting.

Grasso is averaging 5.79 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 42 percent. Grasso has split her last four fights and looks for back-to-back victories for the first time since 2016. Grasso is coming off an impressive showing where she landed 146 total strikes and cashed as a +155 underdog. Grasso has won six of her last eight fights and is coming off a June win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Grasso hasnt exactly fulfilled expectations since coming over from Invicta FC, but its important to note she just turned 26 years old, so shes likely just starting to tap into her potential. The challenge for Grasso is to tap into the other areas of her game and improve in the clinch and on the canvas. From a pure boxing standpoint, Grasso is up there as one of the best on the womens side. This will be Grassos seventh career fight in Mexico, her birthplace. Grasso is a standup striker at heart with terrific accuracy, technique and toughness. Weve seen Grasso struggle in her past few fights once the fight gets on the ground. Grasso does a great job of standing in the middle of the octagon and landing strikes repeatedly often without allowing her opponent to counter. Alexa Grasso enters this fight with a 11-2 record and has won 64 percent of her fights by decision. Grasso is averaging 0.24 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent.

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Although Grasso is quite technical in her striking and, for the most part, her grappling, she does tend to expend a lot of energy in getting out of grappling exchanges, especially early on in fights. Over a decade of wrestling will teach you a variety of ways to get foes on the mat, and it would behoove Esparza to utilize most of them here. Esparzas standard double- and single-leg takedowns are textbook, but a heavy clinch and chain wrestling would aid in taxing Grassos stamina.

Grasso can do what she usually does and be no worse for wear. The environment will work to Grassos advantage here. Not only has she fought in Mexico City before, but she lives and trains in Guadalajara, which is 5,000 feet above sea level. Esparza has not had any notable cardio issues in her career, but this will be a much different experience than shes faced in the past. Mexico City is over 7,000 feet above sea level, so Esparza must be efficient and unconventional to secure a win against the Mexican native.

However, she lost a close split decision to fellow grappler Claudia Gadelha and was swallowed up and finished with ground-and-pound by Suarez. However, she bounced back with he seventh decision win of her career in her last fight against UFC newcomer Virna Jandiroba. Esparza is one of the most experienced strawweights in the world and is the first ever UFC strawweight champion who has earned her success with phenomenal wrestling.

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Grasso hasnt thrown too many body punches in her career, but she is well versed in the Mexican style of boxing, which emphasizes body blows. Punches are less risky than kicks, and they also give the Lobo Gym product better defensive opportunities against takedowns while also sapping Esparzas gas tank. Instead of body kicks, the Mexican star should utilize punches to the body of Esparza.