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Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza UFC 219 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 12/30/17

Esparza vs. Calvillo

UFC: Saturday, December 30, 2017 (T-Mobile Arena)

The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: PPV

Cynthia Calvillo and Carla Esparza fight Saturday during UFC 219 at the T-Mobile Arena.

Cynthia Calvillo enters this fight with a 6-0 record and has won 33 percent of her fights by knockout. This will be Calvillo’s fifth fight this year and is coming off a July win over Joanne Calderwood. Calvillo is averaging 3.65 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 38.2 percent. Calvillo is averaging 1.87 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 57.1 percent. Calvillo has wasted no time making a name for herself, as she turned pro last August and will fight for the fifth time this year, looking to end 2017 with a bang. Calvillo has proven to be a solid striker with potential knockout power, but she's best known for her grappling ability and two of her three UFC victories have come by submission. Calvillo has finished seven of her 12 opponents when you include her amateur career. As he competition improves, Calvillo is proving she’s the real deal despite getting a slow start, as she’s already 30 years old. This will be Calvillo’s second pro MMA fight in Las Vegas.

Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza UFC 219 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 12/30/17

USA TODAY Sports

Carla Esparza enters this fight with a 13-4 record and has won 46 percent of her fights by decision. Esparza has won seven of her last nine fights and is coming off a June win over Maryna Moroz. Esparza is averaging 2.22 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 38.3 percent. Esparza is averaging 4.79 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 38.1 percent. Esparza is now 3-2 under the UFC banner and has a shot at probably the biggest win of her career, which would stop the Calvillo hype train. Esparza has executed 21 takedowns in her last five fights and relies heavily on her grappling and wrestling to earn victories, and she has four submission victories under her belt. Esparza has a strong wresting background and she’s very polished with her ground and pound. Standing up, Esparza wants a flight in the clinch where she can put her knees to work. This will be Esparza’s third pro MMA fight in Las Vegas.

This is going to be a tough fight for Calvillo, as Esparza has a certain fighting style and executes it at a very high level. We’ve seen nothing from Esparza in her last few fights that suggest she can’t produce a high number of takedowns and force her opponent to beat her at her own game. Being able to do that always gives you an advantage in the fight. On the flipped, Calvillo is the bigger fighter between the two, as she’s three inches taller and has a sightly longer reach. Calvillo has also shown she can hold her own on the ground as well, and she’s strong enough to gain position once takedowns take place. Also, Calvillo can be a bit of a free swinger when standing up, and if she avoids the clinch, that will work against Esparza. Really intriguing battle, but I usually side with fighters who have given me no reason to bet against them. You can say what you want about Calvillo, but she wins and is a top-10 strawweight despite turning pro just last year.

I like Calvillo to remain unbeaten.

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