Carla Esparza steps in to face Juliana Lima at UFC 197

The first ever and former UFC Strawweight champion Carla Esparza looks to finally make her return to competition.

Stepping in on just over three weeks notice for Jessica Aguilar, Carla Esparza will take on Jessica Aguilar at UFC 197. The L.A Daily news broke the news Tuesday.

Esparza (10-3, 1-1 in UFC) will be making a return to competition since losing her Strawweight championship to current champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk last March at UFC 185. Esparza won the title in December of 2014 after making it to the finals of the TUF Strawweight championship tournament finals and defeated Rose Namajunas to claim the belt. Esparza met Joanna Jędrzejczyk three months later and would fall to the Polish striker in round two via KO. Before coming into the UFC, Esparza was a successful champion in Invicta Fighting Championships defeating the likes of Felice Herrig and Bec Rawlings, and defeating Angela Hill, Tecia Torres, and Jessica Penne while on the Ultimate Fighter.

Lima (8-2, 2-1 in UFC) is riding a two-fight winning streak having defeated Nina Ansaroff and Ericka Almeida back to back. This fight will be Lima’s second ever fight outsside of Brazil and first in Las Vegas.

UFC 197 will be headlined by a Light Heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Jon “Bones” Jones.

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