Liz Carmouche Addresses PFL Debut, Velasquez Trilogy, And Whether She’s Still Bellator Champ

Bellator women’s flyweight champ Liz Carmouche was gung-ho to join the million dollar PFL tournament this season, but she was a little surprised at the opponent she drew for her first regular season fight.

Carmouche (20-7) clearly relishes the chance to win a second title in a second major promotion, though her Bellator status is currently a question mark (we’ll get to that in a bit). There was no talk with the PFL, however, about fighting Julianna Velasquez, her PFL debut opponent on April 4 in San Antonio, and a foe she vanquished twice in Bellator.

“They only approached me if I wanted to participate in the PFL season, which in my mind, I said without a doubt, absolutely,” Carmouche told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview. “As far as fighting Velasquez, that was just a draw and I just happened to get picked for it. I honestly forgot that she was fighting for Bellator and even a possibility of being a prospect in the tournament. So it came as a huge surprise to me when that was the first name I pulled for the first fight.”

Carmouche recognizes that Velasquez doesn’t feel like she won either of the pair’s first two fights, despite “The Girl-Rilla” stopping the Brazilian twice. So if there’s any unfinished business between the two, it appears to be on the Velasquez side.

It was Juliana Velasquez who Carmouche defeated to claim 125lb gold in Bellator, with three title defenses following. Now, there’s very much a question as to whether Liz Carmouche is still Bellator champ, or whether that title sits vacant.

“That’s the question. I’ve been asked the same thing, and I’m not sure. When I got offered the opportunity to be part of the PFL season, I said I absolutely want to do it, the opportunity to have that belt. But also the prospect to be able to do title defenses as Bellator flyweight champion, I would love that as well. So I’m not sure where I stand with them, I do know that I’m participating in that tournament, and that’s the only thing I do know.”

That second title opportunity is clearly a huge motivator for Carmouche, along with the million dollar purse. “It’s a title in a new organization. That’s a lot cooler. I only have one belt, so to have an opportunity to have a second one sitting on my shelf looks way cooler to me.”

Unlike traditional title defenses, with the tournament format, Carmouche might have an eye on future foes. After all, she’ll have an idea of who she could be fighting in the playoffs. She might just keep her eye on everyone, in fact.

“On all the females. I think that they put together a solid tournament,” she told us.

Carmouche has been impressed with the roster overall, with not a “chump” to be found. “There’s not a female in there that isn’t dangerous.” That said, Carmouche does see Taila Santos and Dakota Ditcheva as the two most well-rounded foes in the women’s flyweight season— “but it could easily happen with the way that they’re paired up that somebody else has the best tools to beat them, and someone else advances, and I’m in just the same amount of trouble with somebody else.”

Watch our full interview with 2024 PFL 1’s Liz Carmouche above.