Juliana Velasquez may not have gotten exactly what she was looking for after she lost her Bellator title, but she got the next best thing.
Velasquez (12-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) lost the women’s flyweight title to Liz Carmouche (16-7 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) at Bellator 278 in April in Honolulu. Carmouche rallied to finish Velasquez with a fourth-round TKO.
Velasquez protested the stoppage and even went so far as to press the result to be overturned. That didn’t happen, but at least she’ll get a chance to win the belt back in a rematch.
Carmouche will defend the title against Velasquez at Bellator 289, which is set for Dec. 9 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. A person with knowledge of the booking confirmed the matchup to MMA Junkie on Wednesday following an initial report from MMAFighting.com. The main card will air on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.
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The 38-year-old Carmouche came to Bellator in 2020 after a lengthy run in the UFC, where she fought for the inaugural women’s bantamweight title against Ronda Rousey in 2013. She won her first three Bellator bouts to get a shot at Velasquez, then took her out with her third finish in four fights for the promotion.
Velasquez upset Ilima-Lei Macfarlane in December 2020 to win the title in Uncasville. She defended it with a split call against Denise Kielholtz in July 2021, but lost it to Carmouche in what was the first setback of her career. Coincidentally, she’ll have a chance to win the title back in the same venue in which she won it the first time – almost exactly two years to the day later.
Bellator 289 also includes the bantamweight grand prix semifinal bouts between interim champion Raufeon Stots and Danny Sabatello, as well as Magomed Magomedov vs. Patchy Mix.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 289.