Juliana Velasquez is set to meet former title challenger Alejandra Lara at Bellator 212 on Dec. 14 (Photo Credit: Bellator MMA)
With Bellator heading to Hawaii on Dec. 14 and 15, all eyes are on the main event bookings with men’s lightweight and women’s flyweight titles on the line. Former champion Michael Chandler (18-4) looks to regain his belt from Brent Primus (8-0) in a rematch of their Bellator NYC contest, while Hawaii’s own Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (8-0) is set to defend her title against UFC vet Valerie Letourneau (10-6).
While the spotlight has been focused on these two bouts, another women’s flyweight contest at Bellator 212 holds future title implications between undefeated Brazilian Juliana Velasquez (7-0) and former title challenger Alejandra Lara (7-2). Since joining the promotion, Velasquez has finished both of her fights with a slick armbar over Na Liang in December 2017, and a knockout victory over Rebecca Ruth in April of this year.
Velasquez was able to finish Rebecca Ruth at Bellator 197 in April via left front kick to the body (Video Via: Bellator MMA)
Velasquez had faced top talent at bantamweight before joining Bellator, having beaten the likes of Talita Bernardo in 2015. The decision to join the promotion, as well as to drop down to flyweight came easy for the Brazilian.
“Juliana in the Brazilian promotions, it’s different you know?,” said translator Rick.
“135 in Brazil, the girls (are) not so big you know? And I notice when I go to another country like the U.S., Germany, you know what I mean, the girls are a little bit more higher. And Juliana has a good shape to change the divisions, and it’s good for her.”
Velasquez’ opponent Lara has also faced a high level of competition in her career, with losses coming to MacFarlane and undefeated LFA flyweight champ Sabina Mazo (6-0) as well as a win her promotional debut against the experienced Lena Ovchynnikova (12-5). Velasquez is going to stick with her gameplan, listen to the advice of the coaches at Team Nogueira who’ve spent the time watching plenty of tape on her opponent, and is unfazed by the test posed by the young Colombian fighter.
“I think we’re gonna need one opportunity to belt,” said Velasquez with the aid of translator Rick. “We’ve worked for this you know?”
The winner will no doubt be one step closer to a title shot, and features on a stacked Bellator 212 card. The aforementioned main event features Primus and Chandler, co-main between former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir (18-12) and Javy Ayala (10-7) at heavyweight, and recently added featherweight match-up with A.J. McKee (12-0) against Daniel Crawford (10-2) top the list of nine premier fights.