Carla Esparza Replaces Rose Namajunas – To Face Danielle Kelly at FURY Grappling 3

Published 12/29/2021, 3:30 AM EST
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 24: Carla Esparza poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 24, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Carla Esparza will step in to face Danielle Kelly at FURY Grappling 3 event. She stepped in as a replacement for the UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas who had to pull out because of COVID-19 protocols.

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Esparza is currently on an impressive five-fight win streak in the UFC. Her last fight was at UFC Fight Night 188 against Yan Xiaonan, which she won via TKO in the second round.

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Cookie Monster‘, the number 2 ranked strawweight, is expected to face the champion for the title next. To maintain her momentum, she would look to beat Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu star Kelly at her own game when they face at FURY Professional Grappling 3 at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.

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This isn’t the first time Kelly will fight a UFC fighter in a grappling match. She previously fought and submitted Cynthia Calvillo and Roxanne Modafferi in BJJ competition. A win over Esparza would the biggest one to date, as the UFC fighter is also an All-American and a BJJ practitioner.

The event will take place on December 30, 2021. Fight fans can catch the action on UFC Fight Pass.

Carla Esparza to challenge for the UFC strawweight title next

After Namajunas defended her title at UFC 268 against Zhang Weili, she hinted towards running it back with Carla Esparza. When both fighters first fought, Esparza submitted Namajunas to become the inaugural UFC strawweight champion.

In a recent interview, when asked if Esparza is someone she would like to fight next, she said, “Yes! I mean, it’s the only one that makes sense. I can fight anybody, but nothing really interests me other than Carla.”

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UFC President Dana White was dismissive of giving Esparza the title shot next. However, it seems like they have listened to who the champion wants to fight next and have agreed to make that fight. In an interview with Brett Okamoto, while talking about possible future title fights, the UFC President was asked who would be next for Namajunas.

He said, “Carla Esparza. 100 percent.”

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Who do you think comes out on top in a fight between Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza? Let us know in the comments!

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Arunaditya Aima

471 articles

Arunaditya is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Journalism from IIJNM, Arunaditya aspires to be an important voice in the world of MMA and interview the likes of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and other such superstars of the sport. He has followed the sport for over a decade and is an ardent fan of Georges St-Pierre, who he believes is the greatest of all time.

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