Bellator 256, the promotion’s second event of 2021, will be a big night for the ladies.
On Monday, two big bouts were revealed for the card: in one, former two-time UFC title challenger Liz Carmouche will take on former Invicta FC champ Vanessa Porto. In the other, former UFC title challenger Cat Zingano will face promotional newcomer Olivia Parker.
Fansided MMA was first to report news of Carmouche vs. Porto. ESPN was first out of the gate with the Zingano vs. Parker news.
Zingano (11-4) made her promotional debut for Bellator MMA last year, picking up a unanimous decision win against Gabby Holloway. The bout was held at a catchweight after Holloway came in over the featherweight limit. The win was Zingano’s first since a 2018 bantamweight fight with Marion Reneau.
Parker (4-1) may not have the same level of experience as Zingano, and is coming off a loss to Chelsea Chandler under the Invicta FC banner. But she has spent her entire pro career at 145lbs or above, and put together a solid record as an amateur, where she fought as high as light heavyweight.
Bellator’s featherweight division is quickly becoming the only game in town, with the UFC’s 145lb weight class little more than a marketing ploy to promote Amanda Nunes at this point. With names like Cris Cyborg, Julia Budd, Leslie Smith, Sinead Kavanagh, Arlene Blencowe, and Zingano, it currently sits as the deepest women’s featherweight division in the sport.
The flyweight division, meanwhile, will see Porto and Carmouche face off. Carmouche (14-7) was another of Bellator’s big free agent signings to debut last year. “The Girl-Rilla” submitted DeAnna Bennett at Bellator 246 back in September. Porto (22-8), meanwhile, has not fought since a November 2019 fight in Invicta FC against Karina Rodriguez. Although Porto was the promotion’s reigning flyweight champion at the time, Rodriguez missed weight, and the fight was changed to a non-title affair.
Bellator 256 takes place Friday, April 9 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The card currently consists of the following match-ups:
Ryan Bader vs. Lyoto Machida – lightweight grand prix quarterfinal
Corey Anderson vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov – lightweight grand prix quarterfinal
Julia Budd vs. Dayana Silva
Jeremy Kennedy vs. Ádám Borics
Cat Zingano vs. Olivia Parker
Diana Avsaragova vs. Tara Graff
Nainoa Dung vs. Izzy William
Dalton Rosta vs. Tony Johnson
Cass Bell vs. Jornel Lugo
Jaylon Bates vs. Jeffrey Glossner
Talita Nogueira vs. Jessica Borga
Cody Law vs. Nathan Ghareeb
Liz Carmouche vs. Vanessa Porto