Bellator 261: Liz Carmouche Mauls Kana Watanabe to Earn Title Shot

Liz Carmouche and Kana Watanabe, Bellator 261
Liz Carmouche and Kana Watanabe, Bellator 261 weigh-in Credit: Bellator MMA

Liz Carmouche was arguably the biggest name to join Bellator’s women’s flyweight division in the past few years. The former two-time title challenger was still seeking her first title in a major MMA promotion — and told Cageside Press ahead of Bellator 261 that her career would not be complete without one. Kana Watanabe, meanwhile, was the undefeated judoka looking to clinch a title shot herself.

With Bellator President Scott Coker making Carmouche vs. Watanabe a bonafide title eliminator, it was time to leave it all on the line Friday — and Carmouche certainly came out guns blazing. Watanabe was quickly backed up against the fence, and the “Girl-Rilla” was putting on perhaps the most dominant striking display of her career. Lefts and rights were hitting home, and Watanabe was rocked. She was barely able to cover up, sagging and ready to drop when the ref made the save.

The entirety of the affair lasted all of 35 seconds, with Watanabe getting in zero offense essentially. Carmouche, meanwhile, made a statement and then some. With Juliana Velasquez defending her title against Denise Kielholtz next month, Carmouche will be waiting in the wings for the winner.

Official Result: Liz Carmouche def. Kana Watanabe by TKO, Round 1, 0:35