ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza, the current No. 2-ranked contender in the UFC’s 115-pound division will face fast-rising grappling superstar Danielle Kelly in the main event of Thursday’s FURY Professional Grappling 3, which streams live on UFC FIGHT PASS.
Esparza replaces Rose Namajunas, who was removed from the card due to COVID-19 protocol, and now faces Kelly in the night’s featured match at Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena.
“Carla is a former UFC champion who is expected to compete for the title again early next year, and we are thrilled to have her compete in the main event of this card, which is absolutely our most stacked event to date,” Cage Fury Fighting Championships President Rob Haydak said. “Carla’s powerful wrestling game will provide a difficult challenge for Danielle and her slick submission skills, which makes for a very intriguing main event.”
Esparza is currently riding a five-fight winning streak under the UFC banner, taking out the likes of Yan Xiaonan, Marina Rodriguez, Michelle Waterson, Alexa Grasso, and Virna Jandiroba. “The Cookie Monster” was the UFC’s inaugural strawweight champion, submitting Namajunas in their first meeting to claim the title in 2014.
Esparza was also a two-time NAIA All-American wrestler while competing at Menlo College under Olympian Lee Allen.
FURY Professional Grappling 3 streams live Thursday on UFC FIGHT PASS at 7:30 p.m. ET. Current All Elite Wrestling superstar and two-time UFC veteran CM Punk calls the action alongside MMA Junkie lead staff reporter John Morgan.
Additional featured matchups include Sean Brady vs. Craig Jones, Clay Guida vs. Billy Quarantillo, and Chase Hooper vs. Renato Moicano, among others. A full lineup is listed below…
FURY Professional Grappling 3 Card:
[Begins 7:30pm ET]
- Danielle Kelly vs. Carla Esparza
- Sean Brady vs. Craig Jones
- Joe Solecki vs. Donald Cerrone
- Clay Guida vs. Billy Quarantillo
- Chase Hooper vs. Renato Moicano
- Nicky Rod vs. Steve Mowry
- Kevin Holland vs. Kody Hamrah
- Neil Magny vs. Joaquim Silva
- Philip Rowe vs. Jonathan Piersma
[Begins 7:00pm ET]
- Alex Caceres vs. Eddy Torres
- Phil Hawes vs. Andre Petroski
- Gillian Robertson vs. Chrissy Briggs
[Begins 6:30pm ET]
- Matt Pontano vs. Eiad Kassis
- Ryot Quinn vs. Brayden Cain
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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