Juliana Velasquez defends her title at Bellator 278 against Liz Carmouche.
The bout headlines Friday’s card live on Showtime from the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena.
Velasquez is unbeaten in 12 pro fights and the reigning women’s flyweight champion. Carmouche carries a record of 16-7 and has climbed up the rankings.
“Carmouche is a very experienced fighter but today I am the world champion, not her,” Velasquez said. “I look at the poster and I’m super stoked to be here. But I think I should be in the women’s pound-for-pound discussion. I have one fight coming up and my name is for sure going to be on the list after this matchup.
“Carmouche is definitely my most experienced opponent, but I don’t think she’s my hardest task. A fight is a fight so let’s see what happens. I think Lara from Colombia and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane were my toughest opponents.
“I just want to solidify my belt at flyweight but it’s definitely in my plans to go up and become the first woman to hold two titles simultaneously.”
Prior to joining Bellator, Carmouche fought in the UFC, competing for the title there.
“I think everybody talks about Velasquez being a black belt in judo,” Carmouche said. “That’s the most challenging thing but at the same time, if the ground is where she wants to go, I’d love to show her what the ground looks like with me. I don’t think that’s something she’s going to want to use. I think she’s going to want to keep it standing.
“I think in part it’s a front that she’s saying I’m not her toughest test. If I am being overlooked, great. I love being underrated. It just makes it that much sweeter for me.
“I saw zero evolution in Velasquez from the Macfarlane fight to the Denise Kielholtz fight. She looked like the same fighter in every fight that I’ve seen so far.”