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Liz Carmouche vs. Kana Watanabe announced as Bellator 261 co-main event

Liz Carmouche
Bellator MMA

The No. 1 contender in the flyweight division could be determined at Bellator 261.

Bellator announced on Tuesday that Liz Carmouche (15-7) will fight Kana Watanabe (10-0-1) at an upcoming event on June 25 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The matchup was first reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Since joining Bellator this past September, Carmouche has gone 2-0 with wins over Vanessa Porto and DeAnna Bennett. Carmouche changed promotions following a six-year run with the UFC during which she challenged for both the bantamweight and flyweight titles.

Watanabe is also 2-0 inside the Bellator cage. She defeated Ilara Joanne in her debut and then returned from a 16-month hiatus to score a split decision win over Alejandra Lara at Bellator 255 this past April. The unbeaten fighter was previously a standout in Japan’s JEWELS and RIZIN promotions.

With both women firmly entrenched in the top-5 of the promotion’s official rankings, whoever improves their Bellator record to 3-0 could potentially earn a shot at the 125-pound title. Current flyweight champion Juliana Velasquez has her first title defense scheduled against Denise Kielholtz at Bellator 262 in July.

Bellator 261 is headlined by a fight for a vacant interim heavyweight title between Timothy Johnson and Valentin Moldavsky.