The UFC announced today that the former strawweight champion Carla Esparza will be taking on Randa Markos in Halifax, Canada. This event will take place on February 19
UFC Fight Night Halifax has gotten a bump up with the addition of a women’s strawweight bout. Former UFC women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza will be returning to the octagon to fight Randa Markos. Both of these women are on the hunt for strawweight gold and were both a part of The Ultimate Fighter Season 20, which saw the creation of the division. UFC Fight Night Halifax is headlined by a heavyweight matchup between Junior Dos Santos and Stefen Struve.
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Carla Esparza (12-3) is currently ranked third in the official UFC rankings. Since losing the belt back in March of 2015, Esparza has had some injuries that forced her to take some time away from competition. Her last fight was against Juliana Lima, which she took on short notice at UFC 197. She won that fight by unanimous decision.
Esparza has been vocal recently in regards to the criteria for her next fight. She spoke out on Instagram, saying that she did not feel comfortable stepping back into a title contention fight. She stated “I’m 100 percent down for that fight. I just asked for just one non-title contention fight with an actual camp after having so much time off from injury”. Now Esparza is set up to face the unranked Markos in Markos’ home country of Canada.
Randa Markos (6-5) is 3-2 since coming off of The Ultimate Fighter. The Canadian fighter most recently lost to Cortney Casey at UFC 202 in August. She currently trains out of Canada and is sure to be the hometown favorite in this fight. Markos has never lost a fight in Canada in her professional career. She will be looking to add to that streak and work her way back up the rankings.