Two former champions will help the UFC close out the year, as Dominick Cruz and Carla Esparza will both see action at UFC 219 in Las Vegas on December 30th. Cruz will face Jimmie Rivera while Esparza will take on Cynthia Calvillo at T-Mobile Arena.
Cruz has not been in the Octagon since he dropped the bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt via unanimous decision at UFC 207. The loss ended a 13-fight winning streak that included a five year stretch where he was only able to fight once and was forced to surrender the belt due to inaction.
The 32-year-old recaptured the belt from T.J. Dillashaw at Fight Night Boston in January of 2016, after being out of action for a year and a half.
Rivera meanwhile has won twenty straight fights, including the five he’s contested since joining the UFC. His most recent victory was a unanimous decision victory over Thomas Almeida at UFC on FOX 25 in July. He’s also defeated Urijah Faber, Iuri Alcantara, Pedro Munhoz and Marcus Brimage since joining the promotion.
Former strawweight champion Carla Esparza defeated Maryna Moroz at UFC Fight Night Oklahoma City in June to get back on the winning track after a loss to Canadian Randa Markos at Fight Night Halifax earlier in the year.
Calvillo is one of the division’s rising stars and has yet to suffer a defeat in her six fights, three of which have taken place in the UFC. The 30-year-old earned a unanimous decision victory over Joanne Calderwood at UFC Fight Night Glasgow in July which followed a third round, rear-naked choke submission over Pearl Gonzalez at UFC 210 and a first round RNC submission victory over Amanda Cooper at UFC 209.