Bellator MMA’s run of signing high-profile free agents continues. According to the ever-reliable Ariel Helwani, the rising MMA promotion has officially picked up former UFC strawweight title challenger Valérie Létourneau . The Canadian is expected to debut with the promotion sometime in the late summer. She will compete in the organization’s women’s flyweight division.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 24, 2017
Létourneau is currently on an unfortunate, three-fight losing streak. The first of these losses occurred in late 2015 when, despite putting up a valiant effort, she was out-hustled by strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk, giving up a unanimous decision. Her next loss occurred in June of 2016, when she succumbed to Joanne Calderwood strikes in Ottawa, Canada. Her most recent loss, finally, occurred at UFC 206 in December, when she gave up a razor-thin decision to Viviane Pereira back in December. After these losses, she was released by the promotion.
The key detail of Letourneau’s move to Bellator is that she will be able to compete in the 125-pound flyweight division, a division the UFC does not currently have for women. Though Létourneau made the strawweight division’s 115-pound cap on many occasions, it’s no secret that the cut to this division was incredibly taxing for her.
Having joined the Bellator fold, Létourneau becomes the latest in a long string of high-profile fighters to do so. Over the last few years, Bellator has gone on a signing spree, picking up notable names like Josh Thomson, Benson Henderson, Phil Davis, Matt Mitrione, Rory MacDonald, Sergei Kharitonov, Alessio Sakara, Josh Koscheck, Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, Lorenz Larkin, Ryan Bader, and Michael MacDonald.
Létourneau joins a flyweight division that is home to promising talent like Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Anastasia Yankova, Veta Arteaga, Keri Melendez and Lena Ovchynnikova.
How do you think Valérie Létourneau will fare in Bellator, where she is able to compete closer to her natural weight? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/24/2017.