The first ever UFC women’s strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, is set to make her debut after a lengthy time on the sidelines because of injuries. Not only is the former champion returning to action but she is taking a fight on short notice. Jessica Aguilar was forced to step out of her UFC 197 bout against Juliana Lima because of a knee injury. Now in her place will be Esparza who has been out of action since March of 2015.
Esparza (10-3) won the inaugural strawweight championship by winning the 20th season of the “Ultimate Fighter”. She would go on to lose the title to current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 185. After the bout Esparza underwent shoulder surgery that kept her out for the remainder of 2015. She now has just under a month to train for the upcoming bout.
Lima (8-2) is riding a two-fight win streak but has not fought since May of last year. She last defeated Ericka Almeida via decision at UFC Fight Night 67 in Brazil.
UFC 197 is scheduled to take place on April 23 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.