Liz Carmouche vs. Kana Watanabe Revealed as Bellator 261 Co-Headliner

Kana Watanabe Bellator MMA
Kata Watanabe, Bellator 255 weigh-in Credit: Bellator MMA

Bellator 261 on June 25 has its co-headliner set, as Liz Carmouche will meet Kana Watanabe in what feels like a flyweight title eliminator.

News of the booking was first reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune. The match-up finds both fighters coming off key wins in Bellator’s women’s flyweight division.

Carmouche (15-7), a two-time UFC title challenger, last stepped into the Bellator MMA cage in April. That bout saw her earn a unanimous decision win against former Invicta FC flyweight champ Vanessa Porto. Since moving to the promotion in 2020 after being unceremoniously dumped off a title fight loss to Valentina Shevchenko, Carmouche is 2-0. Her other win came via submission against DeAnna Bennett last September.

Japan’s Kana Watanabe (10-0-1) is also 2-0 in the promotion. Last time out, the former RIZIN Fighting Federation and DEEP Jewels standout earned a split decision win against ex-title challenger Alejandra Lara.

Prior to that, Watanabe defeated Ilara Joanne via third-round TKO.

Bellator 261 is expected to take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The card is headlined by the organization’s first-ever interim title fight. That will see Tim Johnson take on Valentin Moldavsky for the interim heavyweight strap, necessitated by champion Ryan Bader being tied up in the light heavyweight grand prix.