Kana Watanabe is officially a member of the Bellator MMA roster, and she now has a big test in front of her.
On Monday, ESPN was first to report that Watanabe (9-0-1) would face former Bellator women’s flyweight title challenger Alejandra Lara (9-3) at Bellator 255. Bellator officials later confirmed the booking.
Watanabe previously fought for both DEEP and RIZIN FF. She competed at Bellator 237 in her native Japan, a card co-promoted by RIZIN, in December 2019. That night, she got the better of Brazil’s Ilara Joanne. Undefeated in her career, Watanabe has won seven straight dating back to a 2018 draw. She later avenged the draw, against Yukari Nabe, in an immediate rematch.
Lara came up short against then-champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane in June 2018, and lost her return bout opposite future champ Julianna Velasquez later that same year. She has since turned things around, however, picking up two straight victories against Taylor Turner and another former title challenger, Veta Arteaga.
Bellator 255 takes place April 2, 2021 and serves as the promotion’s coming out party on new broadcast home Showtime. The event is headlined by a featherweight title fight featuring champ Patricio Pitbull against Emmanuel Sanchez. The two will be competing for the second time, with Pitbull victorious in their first encounter. The bout is also part of the ongoing featherweight grand prix.