Top-ranked strawweight fighters Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii and Jessica “Jag” Aguilar are set to face off in a featured matchup at Bellator Fighting Championships 69 on May 18th in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the bout with MMARising.com earlier today.
Fujii and Aguilar will fight at 115 pounds, but both are likely to be part of a Bellator 125-pound women’s tournament that is currently targeted for late 2012 or early 2013. Rebney discussed tentative plans for the eight-woman tournament and listed names of some of its potential participants.
Fujii (25-1-0) has long been regarded as MMA’s premier female fighter, but her goal of becoming the first Bellator 115-pound women’s champion came to a crashing halt in October 2010. Battling myriad injuries, Fujii fought her way to the finals of the inaugural Bellator women’s tournament at 115 pounds before suffering a razor-thin Split Decision loss to current champion Zoila “The Warrior Princess” Gurgel. The defeat snapped Fujii’s 22-fight winning streak, but she has since bounced back with three straight victories in bouts at home in Japan.
Aguilar (13-4-0) also found herself on the wrong end of a contentious judges’ decision in her tournament bout with Gurgel, which took place during the semi-final round. She, too, has rebounded from the tough loss with an impressive four-fight winning streak that has included big wins over Carla Esparza and Lisa Ellis-Ward; the latter of whom handed Aguilar her first pro defeat in 2006. Aguilar aims for the biggest win of her career in May before beginning a new quest for Bellator title gold in the planned tournament.
Update (4:15 P.M. Pacific): Rebney initially stated that the Fujii-Aguilar bout would be contested at 125 pounds, but confirmed this afternoon that the fighters will remain at 115 pounds for this fight.
While tournament plans have not yet been finalised, Rebney believes that his promotion already has six of the eight participants lined up for the competition, but he discussed more than six names when speaking with MMARising.com today. Among those mentioned were Fujii, Aguilar, rising star Jessica “Evil” Eye and Eye’s April 20th opponent, Aisling “Ais The Bash” Daly. Rebney remains hopeful that Gurgel will also be able to take part once she has recovered from her recent knee surgery.
Top U.K. star Rosi “The Surgeon” Sexton also remains a part of Bellator’s future plans. As does 115-pound tournament participant Lisa Ellis-Ward, who will compete at 105 pounds on April 28th but has fought as high as 135 during her career. Other fighters on prospect watch include Munah Holland and the woman whom she defeated this past weekend, Marianna “The Crushen Russian” Kheyfets.
An official tournament lineup will not be finalised until later this year at the earliest. In the interim, Rebney is committed to getting each of the potential competitors into televised fights for Bellator or preliminary bouts streamed live on Spike.com.
Fujii and Aguilar, respectively ranked at #1 and #2 in the 115-pound strawweight division, both look to build upon momentum from recent wins when they face off at Bellator Fighting Championships 69, which takes place at the L’Auberge du Lac Casino and Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The bout is expected to be a part of the night’s televised card.