A confident, sharp Marlen Esparza picked apart Anabel Ortiz on Saturday night in Esparza’s first defense of her WBC flyweight title.

Esparza enjoyed a size advantage against an opponent who moved up two weight classes to face her, but she also was entirely too fast and skillful for Ortiz. Houston’s Esparza defeated Mexico City’s Ortiz by wide distances on two of three scorecards and won a unanimous decision on the Gilberto Ramirez-Yunieski Gonzalez undercard at AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Esparza benefited on the scorecards from two suspect knockdowns – one apiece in the second and fourth rounds. The champion was dominant, though, and didn’t need that assistance to win.

Two judges appropriately scored Esparza a wide winner – 100-88 and 99-90. Judge Glen Crocker strangely scored Esparza a winner by only one point, 95-94.

The 32-year-old Esparza, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, improved to 11-1.

The 35-year-old Ortiz, a former WBA minimumweight champion, slipped to 14-4 in world title fights. She is 31-5 (4 KOs) overall during her 14-year pro career.

Ortiz lost a 10-round unanimous decision to Esparza’s rival, Seneisa Estrada, in a WBA 105-pound championship match in Ortiz’s previous fight.

With a wide win all but secured, Esparza tried to box her way to victory during the 10th round. Ortiz roughed her up in that round, but she didn’t have the type of power necessary to land a punch that could’ve changed the outcome.

A counter left hook by Ortiz got Esparza’s attention with about 1:10 to go in the ninth round. Esparza connected with a hard right hand with just under 50 seconds on the clock in the ninth round.

It was very obvious by then that Ortiz needed a knockout to win.

After a competitive seventh round, Esparza went back to landing jabs and left hooks and quickly moving out of Ortiz’s punching range in the eighth round.

Ortiz got physical with Esparza in the seventh round, a strategy that worked to her advantage during those two minutes.

Ortiz caught Esparza with an overhand right when there was just over a minute on the clock in the sixth round. Ortiz made Esparza fight off her back foot in that round, but Esparza adjusted and landed several left hooks in the final minute of that round.

Esparza was the aggressor again in the fifth round, when she continued to stick and move.

A left hook by Esparza knocked Ortiz off balance about 50 seconds into the fourth round. Mendez counted another knockdown for Esparza late in the fourth round, despite that it again appeared that Esparza pushed Ortiz toward the canvas with her arm.

About 40 seconds into the third round, Esparza drilled Ortiz with a straight right hand and quickly moved out of Ortiz’s punching range. With just under 40 seconds on the clock in the third round, Esparza caught Ortiz with a left to the body and then a left hook up top.

Esparza was dominant at that point in the fight.

Esparza pushed Ortiz to the canvas with her left arm when there were just over 30 seconds to go in the second round. It was still counted as a knockdown by referee Angel Mendez, which put Ortiz at even more of a disadvantage.

Esparza pressed the action throughout the first round and was the busier fighter. She punctuated winning the first round by landing a left hook to the body and then a right hand to Ortiz’s head just before the bell sounded.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.