October 25, 2014

Carla Esparza

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Carla Esparza Bio was born October 10, 1987 in Torrance, CA. She grew up in the South Bay, and was an active participant in school activities, such as the drama program, gymnastics program, and participating in various school wide academic competitions.

Carla attended Redondo Union high school in Redondo Beach, and participated in multiple sports including basketball, wrestling, and varsity track and field. Weight lifting was one of Carla’s passions, and where the idea of wrestling was first introduced to her. A fellow student athlete suggested that she give wrestling a try because she was so strong for her size. She went to the wrestling room, and fell in love with the sport right away. Many of the boys’ on the team thought her days in wrestling were numbered, that she would quit like so many girls had in the past, but this was not the case. After joining wrestling her junior year, she quickly earned herself a varsity spot.

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Although she was competitive in the boys’ wrestling circuit, it was on the girls’ circuit where she found her success. She went on to win regionals, place 6th at state, and 10th at the USGWA national championships at 110lbs, making her an All-American. That summer she went to Fargo, ND for the freestyle national championships representing the CA national team and placed 8th. Carla would go to other high school wrestling rooms during the off season, such as Rosemead, Santa Monica, Northview, North Torrance, San Marino, and Palos Verdes to improve her wrestling. With hard work and dedication, she went on to win Regionals again, place in state, and place 3rd at the USGWA national championships in Lake Orion, Michigan. With her great success in wrestling and her academics, she was awarded a scholarship to Menlo College to wrestle under coach Lee Allen, former 2x Olympian.

Unfortunately, Carla was injured right before her freshman season began, and was forced to sit on the side lines. During the summer, she began training jiu jitsu at the Gracie Academy in Torrance under Rener, Ryron, and Ralek Gracie. She participated in their “Gracie World Championship” tournament and won her white belt division. Carla came back to wrestle a competitive sophomore year, only one match away from placing at Nationals. During the summer going into her junior year, Carla was introduced to Team Oyama and fell in love. She began doing the cardio kickboxing and the jiu jitsu classes.

Carla placed 6th at nationals her junior year at 121lbs, making All-American for the first time in her college career. During the summer she once again trained with Team Oyama, and began working directly with head coach Colin Oyama. She also competed and won the no-gi US Nationals and Pan American Championship. Carla was ranked 2nd in women’s college wrestling her senior year, and went on to place 3rd at 121lbs, making All-American once again. Her teammate Katherine Fulp-Allen was honored as most valuable wrestler at nationals, winning her division, and her father, coach Lee Allen was awarded coach of the year.

During her senior year, Carla was also president of the Menlo College boxing club, and worked with 10x world boxing champion Ramona Gatto on the side. After graduating college, Carla went back to her home town of Redondo Beach and began working at Gold’s Gym as a personal trainer. Carla took on her first professional mma bout February 19, 2010 against Cassie Trost, and won in 48 seconds by TKO. Carla went on to win her next two bouts by submission.

Her next bout was against pound-for-pound top female mma fighter, Megumi Fuiji on August 12th, 2010. Fujii is the only mma fighter, male or female, to hold a perfect 21-0 record. Carla, now 3-0, received the call to fight Fujii on a mere three days notice for the Bellator 115lb televised tournament, and to this date the only female tournament they have put on. Carla went on to put on a competitive first round, using her wrestling skills to keep the submission specialist on her feet, only to fall to an arm bar :57 seconds of the 2nd round. Carla would go on to win her next two fights, had been ranked in the top 10 in the world in her weight class, and would win the bantamweight of the year award for the 2010 WMMA awards.

In her return to the Bellator cage on June 25th, 2011, Carla would face off against #2 ranked Jessica Aguilar from American Top Team. Carla and Jessica had a back and forth match that was one of the most entertaining of the night. Much of the fight was a stand up battle, but Carla would take Jessica down three times in the fight, and knock her down once with a right cross. Carla also checked a kick by Jessica that would end up breaking Jessica’s foot. The split decision went to Jessica Aguilar in her home town. The fight would be nominated for fight of the year for the 2011 WMMA Awards.

Carla’s next match would be against one of the most well known female mma fighters, Felice Herrig. Herrig was the first female mma fighter to be featured in a video game, alongside Michele Gutierrez. The fight was held in Tampa, FL, on December 2nd, 2011, for XFC and was televised on HDnet. Carla would dominate the fight with her wrestling and ground and pound to win a unanimous decision, giving her a 6-2 record. Carla continues to fight and strive to be the number one fighter in the world!

Awards: USGWA National placer in '03 and '04 (10th and 3rd place). 2x high school regional champion. 2x high school All-Amercan. Fargo freestlye national placer '03 (8th place). Menlo College All American '08 and '09. Ranked #2 in the Women's College National rankings. Pan American advanced no-gi champion. US open advanced No-gi champion. IBJJF no-gi National Champion '11

Fight History

Result Fighter Event Method/Referee R Time
win Felice Herrig XFC 15 – Tribute
Dec / 2 / 2011
Decision (Unanimous)
Chris Adams
3 5:00
loss Jessica Aguilar BFC – Bellator Fighting Championships 46
Jun / 25 / 2011
Decision (Split)
Troy Waugh
3 5:00
win Yadira Anzaldua ECSC – Friday Night Fights 3
Apr / 15 / 2011
Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Stan Saavedra
1 0:53
win Nina Ansaroff Crowbar MMA – Winter Brawl
Dec / 10 / 2010
Decision (Split)
Daniel Grimestad
3 5:00
loss Megumi Fujii BFC – Bellator Fighting Championships 24
Aug / 12 / 2010
Submission (Armbar)
Troy Waugh
2 0:57
win Lacey Schuckman NMEF / RMBB – Ladies Night: Clash of the Titans 8
Jul / 16 / 2010
Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Adam Martinez
2 2:37
win Karina Hallinan LBFN 8 – Long Beach Fight Night 8
Apr / 18 / 2010
Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Larry Landless
2 2:16
win Cassie Trost RITC 3 – Respect in the Cage 3
Feb / 19 / 2010
TKO (Punches)
Nelson Hamilton
1 0:48

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