At just twenty years old Valerie Loureda was coming into Bellator with a ton of hype, and while she might have looked a little nervous early, she pulled off a first round finish to debut in style.
Kicking off the Bellator 216 main card at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday was Valerie Loureda. Loureda, a talented Taekwondo practitioner, was making both her Bellator and pro debut at the event. The twenty-year old was hoping the fly the flag for her discipline as she embarked on her MMA career. 2-1 as an amateur, she was welcomed to the Bellator MMA cage by Colby Fletcher. Fletcher entered the night at 1-2 as pro.
Loureda certainly came off as a marketable fighter — well spoken, decorated in her original discipline, attractive, with a big following on social media. She would have to prove, however, the she could perform on a bigger stage on Saturday. Well, so far, so good.
Loureda fired off a couple of kicks early, but soon had one caught as her and Fletcher exchanged blows. A big overhand right by Loureda got the crowd into it, as did an axe kick that was also nearly caught. The young flyweight seemed to settle down as the round wore on and was having a fair amount of success moving in on the lankier Fletcher, though ‘Dreamcatcher’ was able to land in response.
A body kick midway through the round, however, would set up the finish. Loureda landed, dropping Fletcher, and quickly moved to side control looking for the kill. Hammerfists followed, with the ref watching probably a bit longer than he needed to. Fletcher covered up, and simply wasn’t doing enough to defend or escape.
Loureda is going to have her detractors early on, and fans in the arena screaming “take your top off” should give you some idea of the hurdles she’ll have to overcome. Yet given time to build, the now 1-0 fighter could go far. For now it’s too soon to tell, but she’s off to a good start.
A tearful Loureda thanked Scott Coker and American Top Team following the fight, saying it had been her dream since she was a little girl to share her martial arts skill with the world.
Valerie Loureda def. Colby Fletcher by TKO, Round 1, 2:55