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UFC 197: The ‘Cookie Monster’ Returns

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If you’ve been missing the UFC’s resident “Cookie Monster, Carla Esparza (10-3), I’m happy to announce that she is officially back – and you won’t have to wait long to see her fight again.

C is most definitely for Cookie and/or Carla, a fighter who has seen gold at 115 lbs in both Invicta FC and the UFC, and on April 23rd she’ll be returning to the Octagon on short notice to take on Juliana Lima (8-2) at UFC 197 in Las Vegas.

We haven’t seen Esparza since she lost her title to current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk via TKO last March. She¬†replaces the injured Jessica Aguilar, who was pulled from the card due to a torn ACL which required surgery.

To say that the landscape has changed in MMA since the night Carla met Joanna in Dallas at UFC 185 would be a gross understatement. Since that fight, Jedrzejczyk has successfully defended her title twice, becoming the 3rd longest reigning UFC champion in the process behind just flyweight king Demetrious Johnson and welterweight champ Robbie Lawler. Esparza, who ranks in at #2 in the world behind #1 contender and TUF 23 coach opposite JJ, Claudia Gadelha, will look to get right back into the thick of things when she takes on a tough Brazilian in Lima whose strong history in the art of Muay Thai could present some serious problems if Esparza, who still has the best wrestling base in the division, can’t find a way to get this fight to the ground like she couldn’t against Jedrzejczyk.

This women’s strawweight match up gives the fans another solid contest to look forward to and softens the blow for WMMA fans who were really looking forward to a great women’s match up at UFC 197. We wish Aguilar (a proven competitor who will be back and likely better than ever) a speedy recovery and are happy that Lima was able to keep her spot on the card against another formidable opponent in the returning, former UFC women’s strawweight champion.

image via EsparzaGram

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