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Carla Esparza will defend her strawweight title at UFC 281

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Carla Esparza Zhang Weili UFC 281 Frontkick

Carla Esparza and Zhang Weili. Photo Stephen R. Sylvanie – USA TODAY Sports and via Instagram (@carlaesparza1)

Strawweight champion Carla Esparza will put her title on the line when she takes on former champion Zhang Weili. The fight is expected to serve as the co-main event for UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden on November 12. Ariel Helwani first reported the title bout could take place on the card, and the champion recently confirmed the news on Instagram.

“It’s official!! UFC 281 Madison Square Garden on November 12th,” Esparza recently wrote in an Instagram post.

 

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A post shared by Carla (@carlaesparza1)

Read more: Rose Namajunas predicts rival to be the next straweight champion

Carla Esparza is a two-time champion

The bout against Weili will be Carla Esparza’s first title defense after becoming a two-time champion at UFC 274 in May. The win over Rose Namajunas extended her win-streak to six fights in a row. Esparza first became strawweight champion after her fight against rival Namajunas in 2014.

Her opponent Zhang Weili won the strawweight title back in 2019 with a first-round finish over Jessica Andrade. Then she lost the belt to Namajunas who knocked her out in their title fight at UFC 261 in April last year. However, the Chinese bounced back with a violent spinning backfist knockout over former strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk in June.

In the main event of UFC 281 we will see dominant middleweight champion Israel Adesanya face his kickboxing rival Alex Pereira. A light heavyweight bout between top ranked Dominick Reyes and Ryan Spann is also scheduled for the November card.

Read more: UFC 278 fight CANCELLED prior to weigh-ins


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