Bellator women’s champion Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Gurgel will make her return to action against Brazilian veteran Carina “Beauty But The Beast” Damm at Bellator 57 on November 12th in Rama, Ontario, Canada. Bout agreements have been distributed and Damm confirmed participation today.
The targeted bout will be contested at 125 pounds. Gurgel had agreed to face rival Jessica “Jag” Aguilar in a late-October rematch, but Aguilar is still recovering from foot surgery following a Bellator win in June. Damm won back-to-back fights in Brazil this year and will make her Bellator debut.
Gurgel (11-1-0) has been sidelined for much of 2011 after fracturing her hand during a March win over Karina Hallinan. During her recovery, Gurgel has worked hard to develop a more well-rounded mixed martial arts game and has medalled in numerous grappling tournaments. While she holds the Bellator 115-pound women’s title, Gurgel is not expected to be forced to endure the often-drastic weight cuts required for her to make 115 again, according to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. She will remain at her natural weight class of 125 pounds for the bout with Damm, who is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Damm (17-6-0) was originally scheduled to compete in last year’s Bellator women’s tournament, but opted not to take part when the weight limit was lowered to 115 pounds. Instead, she took part in the one-night Strikeforce 135-pound women’s tournament and was submitted by Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano in the semi-finals. Damm suffered stoppage losses to divisional standouts Cat “Alpha” Zingano and Tara LaRosa before returning to Brazil for fights in May and July. She dispatched of overmatched opponents with first-round submissions and now brings momentum into the Bellator 57 bout.
Gurgel will serve as a significant step up in competition for Damm after her two bouts in Brazil. Damm has struggled against top competition in North America, but she earned one of her biggest victories to date when she decisioned Aguilar in an August 2007 bout in Vancouver, British Columbia, and will now look for an upset victory in her return to Canada.
Bellator Fighting Championships 57 takes place on November 12th at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada. The bout between Gurgel and Damm is expected to be a part of the event’s televised main card. A 125-pound women’s tournament remains heavily rumoured for an upcoming Bellator season, but has yet to be formally announced by the promotion.
(Photo Credit: Casper Munoz)