Valerie Letourneau, Alexis Dufresne Off Friday’s Bellator 181 Card

Valerie Letourneau
Credit: Dave Mandel/

An injury has scuttled plans for Valerie Letourneau’s Bellator MMA debut. As a result, opponent Emily Ducote has a new foe opposite her at Bellator 181 Friday: Jessica Middleton. The Viacom-backed promotion announced the news Monday. No details were provided on the nature of the injury, which Letrouneau reportedly suffered in training. The fighter has not released a statement regarding the change either.

Letourneau vs. Ducote had been set to be the co-main event of the Bellator 181 card. ‘Gordinha” has quickly been gaining steam in Bellator, and the fight marked her biggest challenge to date. Instead, Ducote (5-2) will meet Middleton (2-1), who has fought all three of her professional MMA bouts under the Bellator banner. She suffered her first career loss last time out, finding herself submitted by Ilima-Lei Macfarlane — who happens to be the last fighter to beat Ducote.

That’s not the only change to the Bellator 181 card. As per a report by MMA Junkie, Alexis Dufresne is also out of her featherweight bout with Amanda Bell. The reason for the change was not disclosed. In her place, however, will step Brittney Elkin. Both fighters will be making their Bellator MMA debut. Elkin (3-3) has not fought in a year, with her last bout being a TKO at SCL 49 over Kola Shippentower Willingham. Bell (4–4), an Invicta FC veteran, is coming off a unanimous decision win in February against Gabrielle Holloway in KOTC.

A flyweight bout between Katy Collins (6-2) and Bruna Vargas (2-1) is also a late addition to the card.

Bellator 181 takes place Friday July 14 at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The main card airs live on Spike TV.