A bout between rising female stars Jessica “Jag” Aguilar and Carla Esparza is currently targeted for a Bellator event this summer. The matchup will most likely take place at the tentatively-titled Bellator 46 on June 25th, which will be held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Verbal agreements are in place for the matchup, but bout agreements have not been distributed. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney informed MMARising.com earlier this month that the planned fight would not be part of a tournament. A second women’s tournament is still possible for an upcoming season.
After a pair of wins in the Action Fight League, Aguilar (10-4-0) entered last year’s Bellator 115-pound women’s tournament on August 12th and submitted talented striker Lynn “Lights Out” Alvarez with a first-round arm-triangle choke. She advanced on to the semi-finals and faced eventual champion Zoila “Warrior Princess” Gurgel, but came out on the wrong end of a contentious Split Decision in a fight that many observers felt that Aguilar had won.
Following the tough loss, Aguilar fought once more before the end of the year and earned a quick win over Elsie Henri in November. Her 2011 campaign has thus far been a rocky one, as a February fight under the G-Force Fights banner was cancelled at the last minute after Aguilar’s opponent suffered an injury. Aguilar then stepped up on one week’s notice to face Jewels champion Ayaka Hamasaki at the ill-fated Jewels: “Twelfth Ring” event earlier this month, which was cancelled after the earthquake off of Japan’s coast.
Esparza (4-1-0) made her professional debut on February 19, 2010 and fought five times throughout the year. Like Aguilar, Esparza posted a 4-1 record in 2010 and also took part in the 115-pound tournament in Bellator. Filling in on mere days’ notice, Esparza faced long-time pound-for-pound queen Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii at Bellator 24 and engaged in a competitive battle before falling victim to an armbar in the second round.
Four months later, Esparza returned to action at Crowbar MMA: “Winter Brawl” and earned a close Split Decision victory over touted prospect Nina Ansaroff. However, Esparza suffered a badly broken nose during the fight and has been kept out of action since that time. The two-time All-American wrestler will look to pick up her first Bellator victory in June.
While the Aguilar-Esparza matchup is expected to be contested at 115 pounds, Rebney did not confirm an official weight for the fight. He left open the possibility of an upcoming women’s tournament, but stated that a decision had not been made on when the tournament may start nor what weight it would be held at.
The tentatively-titled Bellator 46 event will take place on June 25th at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. It is currently part of a brief series of summer events, which are expected to be held between Bellator Seasons Four and Five.