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The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale: Esparza Taps Namajunas to Become the First Women’s UFC Strawweight Champ


(Shaking is customary, but wiggling is also acceptable. / Photo via Getty)

The UFC will crown its first-ever women’s strawweight champion tonight in Las Vegas, as Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas meet in the main event of the TUF 20 Finale. Also on the lineup: A featherweight(-ish) bout between Charles Oliveira and Jeremy Stephens, a lightweight slugfest between KJ Noons and Daron Cruickshank, and Jessica Penne and Randa Markos battle it out for the TUF 20 bronze-medal.

Live results from the FOX Sports 1 main card will be after the jump beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, courtesy of Matt Saccaro. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest updates, and shoot us your own thoughts on twitter @cagepotatomma. Thanks for being here.

PRELIMINARY CARD RESULTS
- Felice Herrig def. Lisa Ellis via submission (arm bar), 1:53 of round 2.
- Heather Jo Clark def. Bec Rawlings via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
- Joanne Calderwood def. Seo Hee Ham via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
- Tecia Torres def. Angela Magana via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Aisling Daly def. Alex Chambers via submission (arm bar), 4:53 of round 1.
- Angela Hill def. Emily Kagan via unanimous decisio (30-27, 30-26, 30-27).

Please stand by…

Jessica Penne vs. Randa Markos

Round 1: The two clinch immediately and Penne takes Markos down. She mounts Markos, who appears to have a cut above her eye. How she got it is difficult to surmise as she hadn’t been punched. Penne maintains mount for several more minutes without much action. Finally she lands some light ground and pound. Markos powers out of mount but leaves an arm out in the scramble. Penne tries the arm bar but can’t get it. Markos backs off but won’t let Penne stand back up. Marks jumps into Penne’s guard and nearly gets triangled for her efforts. Penne keeps a high guard. Markos tries to pass but gets swept. Penne is on top in Markos’ guard now but there’s only 30 seconds left. The round ends in this position.

Round 2: Penne and Markos exchange jabs. Markos hits a superman punch. Penne throws a body kick, Markos catches it and lands a counter. Penne attempts to pull guard and fails. She eats a few leg kicks while but scooting. They both throw strikes and miss them. Penne just misses a big right. Penne and Markos are breathing heavier than the first round. Penne lands a jab and Markos lands a counter right. Markos turns it up and comes forward with a four-punch combo but Penne blocked most of it. Penne is stalking Markos and keeping her against the fence. Markos fights her way forward with another long combo, but most of the punches don’t connect clean. Markos gets a takedown. Penne sweeps her but can’t maintain her position and Markos lands on top. Markos is in mount. Penne uses some INSANE flexibility to reverse positions and wind up in Markos’ guard. Penne is on top now and illegally grabs the fence to avoid a sweep. The referee admonishes Penne but doesn’t take a point. Penne passes into half guard, then mount. Markos regains half guard when the round ends.

Round 3: Markos hits with a spinning back fist, then a spinning back kick. Markos just misses with a big right hand. Penne hits a nice jab. Markos lands a 1-2, then a lovely uppercut a few seconds later. Penne scores with a 1-2 of her own but Markos fires back with a huge combo that backs Penne up significantly. Penne telegraphs a shot but gets it anyway. She’s in Markos’ guard now. Markos tries an arm bar. Penne stacks her and passes. Markos tries to escape but Penne takes her back. A rear naked choke fails. Markos turns and she’s in mount now. She gets back to half guard. Penne gets back into mount and then transitions to north south. Markos is wraping her legs around Penne and looking for in inverted triangle. It seems to be locked in pretty tight but Penne isn’t panicking. The round ends in that position, Penne’s posture was too good.

Jessiva Penne def. Ronda Markos via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28).

Joe Proctor vs. Yancy Medeiros

Proctor and Medeiros land body kicks on one another. Then they switch to leg kicks. Medeiros lands a jab but eats a huge leg kick. Medeiros scores with a left hook and then a kick to the body. Medeiros misses with a leg kick and a jab to the body. Proctor throws another big leg kick and it finds its mark. Medeiros scores with a double jab, then lands a big right. Medeiros is starting to tee off, with body kicks and punches to the head. He was finding his range but then Proctor landed a back kick of his own that caught Medeiros in the liver (or to the balls, seemed low). Proctor can’t capitalize though; he just clinches. They separate. Medeiros gets hit flush with a straight right and taunts. He throws a massive right at Proctor and misses huge. Proctor almost lands a spinning back fist. Medeiros lands a back kick to the body, then a hook to the body, which floors Proctor. Medeiros grabs a guillotine while Proctor is hunched over and sinks it in! He gets the tap!

Yancy Medeiros def. Joe Proctor via submission (guillotine), 4:37 of round 1.

K.J. Noons vs. Daron Cruickshank

Round 1: Both fighters miss wild combinations. Cruickshank hits a big spinning backfist that stuns Noons. Noons lands a hook. Noons is throwing some kicks, which is uncharacteristic for him. They exchange and Noons pokes Cruickshanks eye. John McCarthy rules it accidental. Noons lands a big left but then Cruickshank ducks behind it and takes his back. He throws Noons to the mat but Noons gets back up immediately. Cruickshank lands a stiff elbow to Noons’ face. Cruickshank misses with a spinning back kick. He gets a double leg but Noons rises to his feet after less than a second. Noons rushes in with a left hook and scores. He goes for a knee from way out and eats a right hook from Cruickshank. Cruickshank hits with a leg kick. Noons tries the knee again and again eats a huge hook. The two move forward and throw big punches, with Noons getting the worse of it. Noons counters with a knee, but Cruickshank manages to seize Noons off it and get a body lock. He almost takes his back while standing but can’t secure the position before the round ends.

Round 2: Cruickshank opens the round with a flying knee. Cruickshank falls to the floor after a strike from Noons. Cruickshank runs away complaining of an eye poke. McCarthy stops the fight to bring in the doctor. There’s some blood on his eye, with the cut really close to the socket. The doctor is testing Cruickshank’s vision and it’s not looking good, no pun intended. They’re giving Cruickshank time to pass the eye test, which I’m not sure is actually legal. The doctor is saying Cruickshank doesn’t want to fight. Cruickshank agrees, saying he can’t see. Fuck

KJ Noons and Darron Cruickshank ends in a no contest via accidental eye poke, 0:25 of round 2.

Jeremy Stephens vs. Charles Oliveira

Round 1: The fighters clinch. Oliveira gets hit with a knee to the midsection that crumbles him. He uses this as an excuse to pull Stephens into his guard. Oliveira is trying an arm bar. Stephens slams him but Oliveira is still holding on. He’s still going for it. Stephens is defending it well. He tries to power out again. It looks like he’s slowly getting his elbow out, but Oliveira is still pulling a la Frank Mir vs. Tim Sylvia. Oliveira finally gives up. Stephens starts landing elbows from inside the guard. Stephens gets up from Oliveira’s guard but does it so lazily that Oliveira jumps up and catches him. They clinch. Stepehns manages to separate. Stephens throws a big right. Oliveira blocks but the force sends him sideways. Oliveira counters with a knee. The round closes with Oliveira landing a 1-2 then a roundhouse.

Round 2: Oliveira lands a front kick and then a leg kick. He throws a right hand, using it as a lead in to one of the laziest shots ever. Like he kind of just fell into him. Despite the absence of technique, he still gets the takedown. He’s in Stephens’ half guard. Now he’s on his back with a really impressive transition. The body triangle is locked in. Oliveira transitions to an arm bar from the back, Stephens is defending really well though. Oliveira is making adjustments. Oliveira extends the arm but somehow Stephens manages to escape! Miraculous. Stephens backs off and they’re up to their feet again. Oliveira lands a knee and then clinches. He’s landing knees to the face, so Stephens does the “I’m gonna put a finger on the ground to defend the knees” bullshit. Oliveira tries a guillotine in the clinch and sweeps to a mounted guillotine. Stephens slips out and regains guard. Stephens scrambles but gets his back taken. Oliveira goes for ANOTHER arm bar and Stephens gets out AGAIN right as the round ends. Wow.

Round 3: Oliveira starts with an AWFUL shot and Stepehns shrugs it off effortlessly. Stephens scores with a right hand. Oliveira shoots again. Stephens tries to counter it with a kimura but botches it. They get into a really bizarre scramble and they ultimately wind up back on their feet. Stephens has his hands low and looks tired. Oliveira throws and hits a spinning back kick to the face. Oliveira tries another terrible shot. He can’t get Stephens down. He but scoots and taunts Stephens but Herb Dean stands him up. Another shot from Oliveira. This time he manages to get his arms around Stephens’ legs and pull him to the mat. About 30 seconds or a minute later Stephens gets back up. Oliveira is taunting Stephens from butt scoot for like 30 whole seconds before Dean stands him up. A minute left to go now. Stephens lands a good 1-2 but then Oliveira counters with his own, then lands a knee. They clinch and Oliveira pulls guard. Stephens lands some nice ground and pound as the time limit expires.

Charles Oliveira def. Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).

Carla Esparza vs. Rose Namajunas

Round 1: Namajunas rushes in and lands a left hand, but misses with a head kick. She throws an overhand right and misses but lands with the counter left. She throws a head kick, but Esparza catche sit and takes her down. Esparza throws loads of ground and pound but Namajunas gets back to her feet. She lands a HUGE hook that sends Esparza running back. The action slows for a minute. Esparza hits with a right hand. Namajunas counters with a front kick to the body. Namanjunas tries a flying knee and misses. She has similar luck with a spinning backfist. Esparza goes for a double leg but can’t keep Namajunas down long enough. Namajunas lands a knee. Namajunas fires off a bunch of fron tkicks. The two clinch, with Esparza doing some good dirty boxing before they separate. Namajunas attempting and missing lots of “spinning shit.” Eventually Esparza gets a takedown off one of these things. She’s landing lots of punches from inside Namajunas’ guard. Namajunas gets back up. A nasty exchange ensues with both fighters landing big punches. Another clinch. Namajunas has Esparza backed up against the cage. She lands some knees and then separates. Esparza takes down Namajunas and the round ends.

Round 2: Namajunas stuffs one of Esparza’s takedowns. Namajunas with a nice jab. She initiates a clinch but eats lots of knees and separates. She gets taken down again shortly after. Esparza is on top in side control. Namajunas regains half guard and is trying a triangle. Esparza escapes and returns to her feet. Namajunas hits a right hand. She keeps trying this jumping front kick that never works. Namajunas tries her own double leg but gets reversed immediately. Esparza is on top in Namajunas’ guard now. It doesn’t take long for Esparza to pass into side control, but in an equal amount of time Namajunas regains guard. Esparza passes again, and eventually gets mount with about 30 seconds left. She’s landing lots of ground and pound. Namajunas gives up her back as the round is about to end. Saved by the bell, maybe.

Round 3: Esparza takes Namajunas down immediately. Esparza takes Namajunas’ back with four minutes to go in the round. This looks bad for Namajunas. She’s landing lots of punches, and is going for a rear naked choke now. She gets the choke, Namajunas taps. It’s over. Esparza is the first women’s UFC strawweight champ.

Carla Esparza def. Rose Namajunas via submission (rear naked choke) 1:26 of round 3.

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