“Don’t Sleep on This Fight” is a new segment I’m going to produce leading up to every card about a fighter and/or matchup that should not be missed (a.k.a slept on). This week the UFC returns to Dallas, Texas for two championship fights. Originally on the main card, Tatiana Suarez vs. Carla Esparza will now headline the prelims on FX.
It’s not like there hasn’t been a lot of hype for the former two-time bronze medalist in freestyle wrestling, just not as much as I think there should. Tatiana Suarez’s Olympic aspirations were derailed when a neck injury, which also caught a cancerous growth she has now successfully beaten, lead her to Brazilian jiu-jitsu and the world of mixed martial arts.
After starting her career 3-0 and getting a shot on season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter, Suarez went on to win dominantly, stopping three opponents along the way, including Amanda Cooper in the final. Another dominant victory against Brazilian Viviane Pereira followed suit.
In her most recent bout, a co-main event slot at UFC Fight Night 129 in Chile, Suarez was facing her toughest test yet in striker Alexa Grasso. Suarez used her clinch and wrestling to take the fight to the ground and take control. Once the hooks were in, she sunk in the rear-naked choke and made it look relatively easy. This has had some people call her the ‘Khabib of the strawweight division’ which isn’t a stretch, considering her résumé and skill.
Tatiana Suarez will face former strawweight champion Carla Esparza Saturday, who is coming off a controversial split decision loss to Cláudia Gadelha. In this wrestler vs. wrestler showdown, Suarez will look to show people why she’s someone to keep an eye on as she inches closer to a shot at the strawweight strap.
The prelims for UFC 228 kick off on FX @ 8:00PM ET/5:00PM PT.