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Photo: Carla Esparza sliced open in FURY Pro Grappling 3 headliner

Esparza said she need just a couple of stitches after the submission-only event. 

Carla Esparza after her TKO win over Yan Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 27.
Carla Esparza after her TKO win over Yan Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 27.
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

The headliner of FURY Pro Grappling 3 on Thursday night ended in bloody fashion after Carla Esparza suffered a gruesome cut over her eye.

Esparza served as a short-notice replacement for Rose Namajunas, who was expected to meet Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Danielle Kelly at the submission-only event. Both women were off to a great start, but their time on the mat would be brought to an end prematurely.

While in her guard, the former UFC strawweight champion lifted up and slammed Kelly down to the canvas. That slam resulted in an accidental headbutt, which immediately cut Esparza open over her eye and led to a pause in the action. Esparza was then tended to by the event doctor and deemed ineligible to continue, so Kelly was declared the winner.

You can see the finish below, courtesy of the official UFC Fight Pass Twitter account:

As unfortunate as the ending was, Esparza was still grateful for the opportunity to compete against Kelly. She took to social media to provide an update and share a close-up photo of her cut.

Warning: Photo is graphic. Proceed with caution.

“Sorry guys, accidental head butt on a slam led to a cut and a stop in the match,” wrote Esparza. “In good spirits! Just gotta get a couple stitches. Thanks so much [FURY Grappling] for having me, and [Danielle Kelly] for the match.”

Kelly also responded to the ending of the match and wished Esparza well in her recovery.

“So I just want to say I wish [Carla Esparza] a speedy recovery,” wrote Kelly. “Not me or her were expecting that and maybe a rematch in the future if it doesn’t get between schedules. Honestly I was confused and a lot of adrenaline was going through me.

“I was just really excited to be apart of a huge event with everyone watching. I’m also just nerding out this mark on my face.”

Before a rematch between Esparza and Kelly can be considered, the ‘Cookie Monster’ has another rematch ahead of her. The UFC brass has confirmed that Esparza will be meeting the previously mentioned Namajunas again sometime in 2022.

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