When news came out that Julia Budd would face former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen for the inaugural featherweight title on the Bellator prelims, there was a fair amount of public consternation. A lot of people disagreed with Bellator’s decision to put a title fight on a digital stream, regardless of the logic behind it.
The logic behind it, of course, was to draw more attention to Bellator’s streaming presence, which in a roundabout way it did.
Yet when Budd injured herself in training, Coenen was rebooked in a non-title fight against Alexis Dufresne. And rethinking the whole thing, Bellator moved that particular bout to this Friday’s main card at Bellator 155, while dropping Marcin Held’s fight with Dave Jensen down to the prelims.
Asked about it on Wednesday’s media call, Bellator president Scott Coker said that the promotion is remaining fluid with its strategies.
"You know I’ll tell you, in today’s world it’s really important to have a digital presence and really drive our digital numbers," he said. "Our digital department and I, we sat down and, when it was a title fight they really wanted to, the thought that was the fight that could really push the numbers digitally and on the app. And we agreed to it.
"And when the fight got switched, we all circulated our feelings and we all made a team decision that the fight between [Marcin] Held and [Dave] Jensen would be something that could drive in numbers for them. And so that’s why we chose to move the fight from the Marloes Coenen fight and the Jensen fight down."
The 35-year old Dutch fighter Coenen has rebounded with back-to-back victories since losing against Cris "Cyborg" Justino for the inaugural featherweight title in Invicta FC. She submitted Annalisa Bucci and Arlene Blencowe in her first two fights under the Bellator banner.
Dufresne is coming off a stint in the UFC, in which the 25-year old lost her two bouts against Sarah Moras and Marion Reneau. The Moras fight was a controversial decision.
Asked if Budd would face the winner of Coenen-Dufresne for the 145-pound title, Coker said that was the plan.
"Yeah, absolutely. We’re going to try and put that fight together as soon as we can. As soon as Julia’s healthy we’re going to put that fight on."