Esparza would take the grappling match on short notice, with former foe and current UFC Champ Rose Namajunas pulling out due to COVID-19 protocols.
Carla Esparza and Danielle Kelly take their talents to the mat as both start out on their knees. Esparza gets on top of Danielle Kelly as she looks to pass guard. Esparza traps Kelly’s hands beneath her back. Kelley gets out and the fighters fight the hands. Kelly looks to get an Ezekiel choke from bottom. Esparza struggles to get out of the tight position but Esparza eventually gets out.
Esparza looks to get past the closed guard of Kelly, still having top control. Kelly tries to get wrist control and make something happen. Esparza picks Kelly up and slams her on the mat. An accidental headbutt would happen once the match hit the floor. Esparza’s head quickly collided with her opponent. A nasty cut would open up on the forehead of Esparza.
The referee would call a halt to the fight right after. With the injury sustained, Kelly would be declared the winner.
Official result: Danielle Kelly defeats Carla Esparza via doctor stoppage (4:26)
Check out the highlights below:
The 𝙎𝙐𝙋𝙀𝙍𝙎𝙏𝘼𝙍 Danielle Kelly 💫
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) December 31, 2021