The newest competition between the UFC and Bellator MMA is in the women’s featherweight division with Bellator holding a fight between Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd for the inaugural belt this weekend. Bellator 174 takes place March 3rd at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, OK with an undercard webstreamed at Spike.com, main card broadcast on Spike TV.
Marloes Coenen is literally a pioneer of the women’s divisions having won the ReMix Cup tournament in 2000, the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title in 2010, and fought Cristiane Justino for the Invicta featherweight title in 2013. Lately Coenen has only fought once a year with the loss to Justino in 2013, a win over Annalisa Bucci for her Bellator debut in 2014, a win over Arlene Biencowe in 2015, and a loss to Alexis Dufresne in 2016. Now with a record of 23-7 Coenen is nearing the end of her MMA career at 35 years old but her striking and ground game are still respectable. Julia Budd has been on a tear since losing to former UFC champion Ronda Rousey in November 2011 at Strikeforce Challengers. In 2012 Budd made her Invicta FC debut where she went 4-0 then moved over to Bellator in 2015 where she defeated Gabrielle Holloway, Roberta Rovel, and most recently Arlene Blencowe. Budd is two years younger than Coenen but her record is much shorter at 9-2 with her losses being to Rousey and current UFC champion Amanda Nunes also in Strikeforce.
In the co-main event Brandon Girtz faces Fernando Gonzalez. 14-5 Girtz is 6-3 in Bellator with his sole fight in the past fifteen months being a unanimous decision loss to Adam Piccolotti in November, a fight that snapped Girtz’ three-fight win streak. At 25-14 Gonzalez is much more experienced. Gonzalez debuted in Bellator in July 2014 and picked up five wins before losing to Michael Page by split decision in November.
- W Flyweight: Emily Ducote vs. Katy Collins
- WFW: Alexis Dufresne vs. Gabrielle Holloway
- HW: Justin Wren vs. Roman Pizzolato
- MW: Rafael Lovato Jr. vs. Wayman Carter
- FW: Emmanuel Rivera vs. Treston Thomison
- WW: Jason Witt vs. Justin Patterson
- LW: Cody Pfister vs. Jonathan Gary
Main card (Spike TV)
- BW: Steve Garcia vs. Joe Taimanglo
- MW: Chris Honeycutt vs. Kendall Grove
- WW: Brandon Girtz vs. Fernando Gonzalez
- WFW title: Marloes Coenen vs. Julia Budd