The lone women’s bout on the main card is a strawweight fight between Carla Esparza and Marina Rodriguez. The latter opened as the -185 favourite with Esparza at +145.
The UFC’s two-week visit to the very unique Fight Island in Abu Dhabi – although it will be back plenty — concludes Saturday night Eastern time with a big card. The lone women’s bout on the main card is a strawweight fight between Carla Esparza and Marina Rodriguez. The latter is a -185 favourite on the MMA odds with Esparza at +145.
Weili Zhang is the current women’s strawweight champion with Esparza ranked seventh and Rodriguez ninth. The over-under for this scheduled three-rounder is 2.5 rounds, with the Over a huge -475 favourite.
Carla Esparza UFC Fight Island Odds
Esparza (16-6), a 32-year-old American, was to fight Rodriguez at Fight Island on July 15, but one of Rodriguez’s cornermen tested positive for COVID-19 so it was pushed back. Esparza has been fighting professionally since 2010 – she is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but also a former collegiate wrestler.
She was the Invicta FC flyweight champion, and in her UFC debut beat Rose Namajunas (currently ranked No. 1 in division) in December 2014 in the “Ultimate Fighter 20” final to win the organization’s inaugural women’s strawweight title. However, Esparza lost it next time out via second-round KO (punches) to Joanna Jedrzejczyk and hasn’t fought for a title since. Esparza enters on a three-fight winning streak, though, last beating Michelle Waterson in May by split decision.
“Cookie Monster” wins 56 per cent of the time by decision, 25 per cent by submission and 19 by KO/TKO. Three of her six losses are via decision. Her favoured method of victory Saturday is by decision at +180. Her UFC bouts average 14:07 and she lands 2.30 significant strikes per minute (absorbs 2.87) along with 3.28 takedowns per 15 minutes with 33 per cent accuracy. Her takedown defence is 48 per cent.
Marina Rodriguez UFC Fight Island Odds
Not often you see any fighter with two draws, but that’s the case for the 33-year-old Brazilian Rodriguez as she’s unbeaten in 14 career professional bouts but drew in her last fight in December vs. Cynthia Calvillo and in September 2018 vs. Randa Markos in her UFC debut. Calvillo came in well overweight for that bout so it was held at a catchweight.
Rodriguez began her MMA career in 2015 and finally got her UFC break in “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series Brazil” season 1 when she beat Maria de Oliveira Neta by first-round TKO (punches).
Rodriguez, who practices Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai, has six wins by decision, five by KO/TKO and just one by submission. Her UFC bouts average 12:37 and she lands 5.60 significant strikes per minute (absorbs 3.57) and 0.48 takedowns per 15 minutes with 33 per cent accuracy. Rodriguez’s takedown defence is 70 per cent. Her favoured method of victory Saturday is by decision at +100. A draw, incidentally, is +5000.
UFC Fight Island Predictions: Esparza vs. Rodriguez
No question that Rodriguez wants to keep this fight standing up, and she does have a five-inch height advantage and two inches of reach. Back Rodriguez by decision.