While the UFC gets a lot of the credit for bringing female MMA to the mainstream, if you remember correctly, Scott Coker and Strikeforce were the first ones to offer up a platform for Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and countless others to really thrive.
Now that Coker is in charge of Bellator, he is once again building several women’s divisions from the ground up.
That comes to light starting this Friday night at Bellator 201 when Ilima-Lei Macfarlane headlines the event live on Paramount Network by defending her flyweight title against Alejandra Lara.
Also featured on the card from Temecula, California will be Valerie Letourneau vs. Kristina Williams in another flyweight affair. Keri Anne Melendez, the wife of Gilbert Melendez, fights on the prelims against Tiani Valle, and Kristi Lopez battles Paola Ramirez in another flyweight contest.
In July, Bellator 202 will be headlined by Julia Budd defending her featherweight strap against Talita Nogueira, with Emily Ducote taking on Veta Arteaga in another featured contest from Thackerville, Oklahoma.
Like Bellator 201, that card also airs on Paramount Network.
Budd’s most recent title defense vs. Arlene Blencowe also served as the main event, with that bout taking place at Bellator 189.