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UFC 228 results: Tatiana Suarez dominates former champ Carla Esparza

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Tatiana Suarez Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The next generation of women’s fighters is on the rise. And it’s being led by Tatiana Suarez.

The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native’s pro career began in 2014, a full year after Ronda Rousey busted down the door to the UFC. And in just four short years, The Ultimate Fighter 23 winner has established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the strawweight division.

Suarez scored her biggest win to date on Saturday night, as she mauled former UFC and Invicta FC champion Carla Esparza in the featured prelim bout of UFC 228 on Saturday night in Dallas. Suarez dominated Esparza for nearly 15 minutes before the bout was waved off at 4:33 of the final round.

It didn’t take long for Suarez to establish her dominance in the bout, as she immediately changed levels and took a charging Esparza to the mat. That’s where the bout stayed for the rest of the round, as Suarez did a Khabib Nurmagomedov impersonation and worked Esparza over from top position.

Esparza, though, is one of the toughest pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Suarez again used her wrestling to fluster Esparza in the second. Esparza twice managed to get back to her feet, but both times, Suarez took things right back to the mat and regained control.

The third round seemed almost predetermined, as Suarez repeated the first two rounds and Esparza gamely hung on. But just as it seemed Esparza might make it to the horn, Suarez, who barely looked like she broke a sweat, found another gear and rained things down until the bout was waved off.

“This is something I’ve been working for my whole entire life,” said Suarez, a survivor of thyroid cancer. “I do this for the people.”

With the win, Suarez improves to 7-0. Esparza (13-6) has now dropped two straight.