Bellator’s blockbuster Garden party is down a high-profile name.
Keri Melendez is out of her fight with Sadee Monserrate Williams at Bellator 180 on June 24 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden due to an undisclosed injury, promotion officials told MMA Fighting on Monday. Melendez vs. Williams was supposed to take place on the Spike TV portion of the event, prior to the pay-per-view. The PPV is being dubbed as Bellator NYC.
Williams will not get a new opponent for Bellator 180. In the place of that fight, popular female boxer Heather Hardy’s MMA debut against Alice Yauger will move to the opener of the Spike TV part of the card. That bout was previously set to air on the bellator.com prelims.
Melendez (1-0), the wife of UFC standout Gilbert Melendez, won her MMA debut by 47-second knockout last November.
Hardy, a well-known boxer out of Brooklyn who is beginning to make her name on the national level, was signed by Bellator this spring after her prospective MMA debut for Invicta FC fell through due to her opponent’s injury. Hardy, 35, plans on juggling boxing and MMA moving forward. Yauger (4-5) has been an MMA pro since 2013 and fell in her Bellator debut to Jessica Middleton by unanimous decision in January.
Bellator 180, the Spike TV part of the card, is headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between champion Phil Davis and challenger Ryan Bader.
The Bellator NYC pay-per-view card sports a main event pitting longtime rivals Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva. Fedor Emelianenko makes his Bellator debut against Matt Mitrione in the co-main event. The PPV card also has a welterweight title fight between champion Douglas Lima and challenger Lorenz Larkin, plus Michael Chandler defending his lightweight belt against Brent Primus.