Bellator Inks New Deals With Marloes Coenen & Julia Budd, No Word On Gina Carano

Bellator is reestablishing its 145-pound weight class for females and made huge strides in that regard today.

The MMA promotion announced that former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen (21-6) and Invicta FC vet Julia Budd have both signed new deals with the promotion and will fight each other a Bellator event later this year.

While fans have been keeping a close eye on Bellator amidst rampant speculation that Gina Carano was on the verge of signing alongside Coenen, it appears negotiations have hit a snag and Julia Budd was chosen for the Coenen fight instead.

The reintroduction of WMMA is clearly the brainchild of former Strikeforce head Scott Coker who recently took over the helm of Bellator.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring in two of the best athletes competing in our sport today,” Coker stated. “We are making a commitment to bring back the female division to Bellator, and feature some of the world’s best in the Bellator cage.”

Right now, the UFC only features 135- and 115-pound divisions for females, with no immediate plans for a 145-pound weight class. That could allow Bellator to stock its roster with many of the world’s top featherweights.

Coenen, a 33-year-old Dutch fighter, is a has competed in pro MMA for 14 years. While primarily a featherweight, Coenen was also Strikeforce’s bantamweight champion from 2010-2011.

“It is great to be working together with Scott Coker again as we both have the same vision on fighting,” stated Coenen, who has 18 stoppages in 21 career wins. “My style is fighting with the objective to knock my opponent out or to submit her. That is exactly what I am planning to do the very first second I step into the Bellator cage.”

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