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Julia Budd on depth at 145: ‘There is definitely enough of us’

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Julia Budd Bellator

At UFC 208 the UFC will crown their first ever women’s 145 pound champion. Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie fight for the title in the main event. When that news was announced, many fans were left surprised. The perception has always been that women’s featherweight draws from a shallow talent pool.

Number three ranked featherweight Julia Budd believes that is not the case. Speaking on Cage Side Submissions Radio this week, Budd made it clear that the division is ready for whatever the UFC plans to do with it.

“There’s enough of us, you know what I mean? There is definitely enough of us.” said Bellator’s featherweight title contender when asked about the depth at 145 pounds. Budd welcomes the idea of the UFC getting into the mix.

“I think that it’s actually awesome, because It’s bringing more attention to our division. I think it’s great, I can’t wait to see who wins out of Germaine and Holly on the 11th. I’m just looking to be the Bellator 145 pound champ. That’s where my eyes are set right now, but I think that it’s good. I think that it’s awesome that Invicta just crowned an interim champ. The more attention the better to our division.”

Holm and de Randamie have been competing in the UFC’s bantamweight division, but both have pedigree north of 135 pounds. Holm fought above 135 pounds for the majority of her professional boxing career. De Randamie competed at featherweight in Strikeforce.

The featherweight title is the third women’s title the UFC have introduced. Fighters and fans alike have called for a flyweight division for some time. Currently many fighters are forced to choose between competing as an undersized bantamweight, or an oversized strawweight, to retain their spot on the UFC roster.

Budd believes that more divisions will come, and she would welcome their introduction.

“I think the more the better. I don’t know why people have a problem with it. It’s weird to me that people are complaining about the 145 division opening up. Actually, the more divisions the better. The more draw to women’s MMA. The more eyes are on it. It’s better for all of us.”

On March 3 Bellator will introduce their own featherweight title. They began promoting women’s featherweight bouts in 2014. Budd is one half of the title fight at Bellator 174. Former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Marloes Coenen is the other.

Budd has won all three of her previous Bellator bouts to earn the title shot. The Canadian has now won seven straight since losing to Ronda Rousey in 2011. Coenen won two Bellator bouts by submission, but was defeated last time out by Alexis Dufresne. Dufresne weighed in almost five pounds over the agreed limit.

Budd believes she knows what is coming, and that the timing is right to win the first major championship of her MMA career.

“I think she’s gonna try to turn it into a grappling match, I do. I think that she’s gonna come out and she’s gonna swing and then she’s gonna try and get it to the ground as soon as possible. That’s what I see when I envision it, but I learned my lesson a long time ago about just being prepared for anything so I never get set on one thing specifically. I’m ready to do it all.

“I feel right now everything’s coming together so well. Camp couldn’t have been going better. I’ve been studying her and we’ve been watching her fights and I’ve been studying her for so long now. We were just talking about it, we can’t wait until March 3rd. I already feel so prepared if it were to happen this weekend. I’m never underestimating her, I’m expecting a hell of a fight, but I’m gonna win it.

“I feel like it’s perfect timing right now.”

 

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Watch: Bellator 185 Prelims

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Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Complete Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko Fight Card:

Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)

Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)

Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card:

Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)

Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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