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Carla Esparza in “good spirits” after accidental head butt with Danielle Kelly at Fury Pro Grappling 3

UFC strawweight contender Carla Esparza sustained a large cut above her right eye during a grappling bout with BJJ ace Daniel Kelly at Fury Pro Grappling 3 event Thursday in Philadelphia.

The bout at the 2300 Arena was part of submissions only card streamed on UFC Fight Pass that featured UFC fighters competing in grappling-only bouts.

Near the end of the first round, Esparza, who was subbing for UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas, picked up Kelly to slam her after getting caught in Kelly’s guard. Her forehead collided with Kelly during the impact, generating the immediate bleeding cut. After being examined by the doctor, the referee was forced to halt the contest at 4:26 giving Kelly the official victory in the books.

Kelly wished Esparza a speedy recovery on Instagram while floating the opportunity of a rematch without acknowledging her ‘victory.’

The injury could threaten to derail Esparza’s anticipated title shot with Namajunas, which has not been officially announced yet. We’ll have to wait and see how this affects the UFC strawweight title picture.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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