Keri Melendez, Ed Ruth Added to Bellator 201

Keri Melendez Bellator MMA
Keri Melendez Credit: Dave Mandel/

Bellator MMA is back later this month, and Bellator 201 is starting to fill out with the latest additions to the card!

Bellator MMA’s first event since the milestone Bellator 200 has seen a few key additions made. Both Ed Ruth and Keri Melendez have been added to the Bellator 201 card later this month. News of the Ruth bout, which will be contested at welterweight, was reported by MMA Junkie earlier Monday. Bellator’s official Twitter account, meanwhile, announced the Melendez fight.

Keri Melendez (1-0), wife of UFC star and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, will be making her first appearance in the cage since 2016. A bout at last year’s Bellator NYC was scrapped due to injury. She previously competed in kickboxing under both the Bellator banner and elsewhere, picking up wins at Bellator Dynamite 1, and Bellator 157.

Melendez will face Hawaiian Tiani Valle (1-0) at Bellator 201. The fight is set to be contested at strawweight. Valle will be making her promotional debut at the event.

In another first, the highly touted Ed Ruth will make his welterweight debut on the card. Ruth has slowly been creeping towards the 170lb weight class throughout his Bellator MMA run, fighting at a 195lb catchweight and later middleweight. At Bellator 201, he’ll face Andy Murad (15-2). Ruth (5-0), a Penn State alum, most recently defeated short-notice replacement Ion Pascu at Bellator 196 in April.

Bellator 201 takes place June 29 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. The main event features flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defending her title against challenger Alejandra Lara. Valerie Letourneau vs. Kristina Williams also features on the card, making it a big night for the ladies in Bellator.