Carla “the Cookie Monster” Esparza will have to shift her focus in a new direction as she prepares for her next fight.
Esparza, who is 8-2, announced on her Facebook page that she will be facing undefeated Brazilian prospect Claudia Gadelha for the Invicta FC Strawweight (115-pounds) championship at Invicta FC 4 on Jan. 5 2013.
There were plans for Esparza to face Jewels champion Ayaka Hamasaki at the event, however it is speculated that Hamasaki will defend her Jewels Lightweight championship in December.
Gadelha has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu with three world championships to her credit. With five of her eight wins coming by way of submission, her jiu-jitsu skills could be a match for Esparza’s wrestling ability.
Esparza’s last two wins have been by TKO, which could give her an advantage in the stand-up. Gadelha’s last fight ended with a first-round in 95 seconds, which means this fight could end in the first or second round.
One advantage Esparza could have in the fight is Gadelha, who has fought her entire career at 125-pounds, will be making her strawweight debut in this fight. The weight cut could be something that could affect Gadelha, which could lead to Esparza going for the quick finish.
Invicta’s first event for 2013 continues to take shape. In addition to the Esparza vs. Gadelha title fight, two other matches were announced on Invicta FC’s Facebook page: a featherweight contest between Ediene Gomes vs. Japanese star Hiroko Yamanaka and a strawweight battle between Tecia Torres vs. Paige VanZant.
A fight between Joanne Calderwood and Bec Hyatt was announced for Invicta FC 4 in early November. There is also speculation that the event will feature a rematch between Alexis Davis and Shayna Baszler.
What do you think of Esparza’s new opponent? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @alstover with the hashtag #RantMMA