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Carla Esparza replaces Rose Namajunas on Dec. 30 after COVID sends ‘Thug’ to the sidelines

COVID-19 protocols have forced UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas to withdraw from her Danielle Kelly grappling match, scheduled for this Thurs. night (Dec. 30) at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that “Thug” will be replaced by longtime strawweight rival Carla Esparza. “Cookie Monster” will headliner the Fury Grappling 3 lineup on UFC Fight Pass, which also features Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, among others.

Here’s the updated Fury Grappling 3 lineup:

MAIN CARD (7:30 p.m. 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
Alex Caceres vs. Eddy Torres
Phil Hawes vs. Andre Petroski

PRELIMS (6:30 p.m. ET)

Matt Pontano vs. Eiad Kassis
Ryot Quinn vs. Brayden Cain

Limited tickets are still available right here.

Namajunas is expected to defend her UFC title against Esparza at some point in early-to-mid 2022. Cerrone, meanwhile, has not seen the inside of the Octagon since losing to Alex Morono last May. “Cowboy” is winless across his last six fights.

For more information on Fury Grappling 3 click here.