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Leslie Smith to face Sinead Kavanagh in promotional return at Bellator 224

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh will welcome the return of former UFC fighter Leslie Smith to the Bellator ranks when they clash in Thackerville, Okla. on Jul. 12.

Bellator confirmed the featherweight booking to MMA Fighting, with sources suggesting the fight is being targeted for the event’s preliminary card. The division’s featherweight champion is set to be decided in the main event of the night, as champion Julia Budd looks to defend her title against Olga Rubin.

Smith (10-7-1) was not offered a new contract after her last scheduled UFC bout against Aspen Ladd fell through after the prospect failed to make weightfor their Atlantic City clash. In April, it was announced that Smith had signed for Bellator. Smith is currently on a two-fight win streak following wins over Amanda Lemos and Irene Aldana.

Kavanagh (5-3-0) is coming off a TKO loss to Janay Harding. Kavanagh was opened up in the first round of the contest to the extent that the action was waved off after the first round. The SBG fighter is 2-3 under the Bellator banner since her debut in Dec. 2012. Her last win cam against Maria Casanova who she stopped in the first round of their clash in Dublin, Ireland at Bellator 187.