Bellator 191's Valerie Letourneau looks to ex-UFC champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk as proof she made right move

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Six-time UFC fighter Valerie Letourneau struggled tremendously to reach the 115-pound strawweight limit during her octagon run and ultimately decided to move to flyweight upon signing with Bellator.

Letourneau (8-6 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) debuts for the promotion against Kate Jackson (9-2-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) at Friday’s Bellator 191 event. Ahead of that matchup, which airs on Spike (via same-day tape delay) from Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England, Letourneau said she’s confident the change in divisions was absolutely necessary.

“I feel like I’ve been waiting for this forever,” Letourneau told MMAjunkie Radio. “It’s been a very long year of negotiating contracts and training and training and training. Nothing was going on, so I’m very impatient. I cannot wait for this fight, especially this week when we cut weight. I’m just so grateful, so happy that I can finally fight at 125. I feel strong. I feel healthy. I’m still cutting weight, but in a normal way, so I can really focus on performing.”

Letourneau’s UFC run started in fine fashion after she earned a UFC 174 win in the bantamweight division before making a move down to the strawweight division and posting victories over Jessica Rakoczy and Maryna Moroz.

But Letourneau’s weight cuts got increasingly difficult, and she lost her final three UFC appearances, starting with a failed bid to unseat then-champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) and then subsequent losses to Joanna Calderwood and Viviane Pereira.

Jedrzejczyk is now a teammate of Letourneau’s at American Top Team, and “Trouble” said she’s amazed that the Polish standout can still get her body down to 115 pounds. However, she said that watching the process is a stark reminder of her own desire to compete at flyweight instead.

Letourneau heard secondhand of Jedrzejczyk’s weight cut at this past month’s UFC 217 event, where the Polish fighter lost her UFC belt, and knows she doesn’t want to deal with similar difficulties.

“Well, definitely we had that talk with Joanna, even the week before the fight, just before she left – how much it hurt her body, how much it affects us even sometimes a month and two months after the fight; we’re still paying the price for the weight cut,” Letourneau said. “It’s so hard to explain. There’s so many steps that are – it’s not healthy, but at the same time, this is what we have to do. I’m so impressed with how good (Jedrzejczyk is) because she’s pretty much cutting the same same amount of weight. We have different bodies, but it works pretty much the same.

“When we start training, we gain weight because we put muscle on, and then everything is a struggle of not putting too much muscle, going down in weight and performing. She’s been doing so great. She always had really good cardio going to those five-round fights. But these weight cuts she’s doing are brutal. People have no clue because also her attitude is so positive. She always looks like she’s good, she’s strong, but look at her body. You can tell the girl is sucked up when she gets on the scale. She’s sitting there smiling, but there’s nothing left. She’s completely drained, and there’s a price to pay.”

Letourneau said it was this experience that forced her to move up a division, especially when her body made things harder and harder for her in progressive weight cuts.

The Canadian import said it’s natural for the body to fight against the cuts no matter how frustrating it might be.

“Every time you do those weight cuts, the second time is harder,” Letourneau said. “Your body knows, and sometimes what was working the first time is not working this time. It’s like your body is protecting itself. You’re not going to lose as much water as easily, and we kind of need to switch a couple things. It’s just, your body doesn’t want to go through this. It’s not healthy, and it just gets harder and harder, and I think this weight cut (for Jedrzejczyk) – from what I’ve heard, I wasn’t there – but we have the same coach. Mike Brown was with me when I fought in Australia, so he saw her cutting weight for this fight, and he said it was a pretty similar weight cut.

“And we have no IV, also, to rehydrate. It’s hard to have 24 hours so dehydrated. You don’t just drink water and Pedialyte, and everything is going to be fine. It’s more than that, especially for your brain.”

The UFC instituted the women’s flyweight division shortly after Letourneau left the promotion, but she said she’s not upset at that turn of events. Instead, she’s simply anxious to get in the cage and said plenty of talented female flyweights are capable of stacking rosters in both the UFC and Bellator.

“I think it’s going to be the perfect mix of both – very athletic girls, very fast, and still strong, strong women, like we see at 135 and 145,” Letourneau. “And also, (we’ll be) seeing women fight at their full capacity.”

For more on Bellator 191, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2579 with Valerie Letourneau, Michael McDonald, Enson Inoue, Ana Julaton, Kate Jackson, Raufeon Stots

Stream or download Friday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Valerie Letourneau, Michael McDonald, Enson Inoue, Ana Julaton, Kate Jackson, and Raufeon Stots.

Letourneau and Jackson fight each other Dec. 15 at Bellator 191. McDonald, who headlines Bellator 191, called in to talk about his promotional debut. Julaton, Bellator fighter and professional boxer, stopped by to break down Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Gueillrmo Rigondeaux. Stots discussed his headlining spot Dec. 16 against Arnold Berdon at VFC 59.

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.

Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Enson Inoue, Michael McDonald, Valerie Letourneau, Kate Jackson, Ana Julaton, Raufeon Stots

Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Enson Inoue, Michael McDonald, Valerie Letourneau, Kate Jackson, Ana Julaton and Raufeon Stots.

MMA pioneer Inoue is our in-studio guest host. We also catch up three fighters from the Dec. 16 Bellator 191 card: McDonald, Letourneau and Jackson. We also chat with former boxing champ/ONE Championship vet/Bellator fighter Julaton, as well as Raufeon Stots, who fights Arnold Berdon at Victory FC 59 on Dec. 16.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTubepages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Report: Valerie Letourneau meets Kate Jackson in promotional debut at Bellator 191 in England

Valerie Letourneau already knew she’d be making her Bellator debut in England in December. Now she apparently has her opponent.

Letourneau (8-6 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) will take on Kate Jackson (9-2-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) in a flyweight bout at Bellator 191. The booking was reported by RDS in Letourneau’s home country of Canada, though Bellator officials have not yet made a formal announcement of the booking.

Bellator 191 takes place Dec. 15 at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England. Bellator is partnering with longtime British promotion BAMMA for the event, which also is scheduled to include the promotional debut of another UFC veteran, Michael McDonald. The event is expected to air via tape-delay on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Letourneau, a onetime UFC women’s strawweight title challenger, is trying to revitalize her career as a flyweight. A struggle to make the 115-pound limit in the UFC led her to sign with Bellator in April to compete as a flyweight. Not long after she signed, the UFC announced its own 125-pound division. An inaugural champion in that weight class will be crowned after the current Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

She was supposed to debut in the promotion earlier this year at Bellator 181 against Emily Ducote, but an injury forced her off the card. Ducote fights for Bellator’s inaugural women’s flyweight title next month against Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, and there’s little doubt Letourneau hopes to be in the conversation to fight the winner.

Jackson made her promotional debut at Bellator 182 in August in New York and picked up a TKO win over Colleen Schneider when Schneider couldn’t continue after the first round due to a knee injury. The victory gave her five wins in a row, including four stoppages.

Jackson hasn’t lost since May 2013, when she had to quit after two rounds of a fight against current dominant UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in Poland before Jedrzejczyk arrived in the UFC.

For more on Bellator 191, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator partners with BAMMA for Dec. 15 event in U.K.

Bellator is partnering with longtime British promotion BAMMA for its next U.K. jaunt.

BAMMA today announced the card, which takes place Dec. 15 at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.

The event, which has yet to be named, is scheduled to feature appearances from Valerie Letourneau (8-6 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Michael McDonald (17-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), as MMAjunkie previously reported. Opponents for the former UFC standouts are to be announced.

The event is expected to air via tape-delay on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Letourneau, a onetime UFC women’s strawweight title challenger, is trying to revitalize her career as a flyweight. A struggle to make the 115-pound limit in the UFC led to her signing with Bellator in April.

McDonald, meanwhile, is hoping to get back on his feet after a public falling out with the UFC. He is 3-3 in his last six bouts and returned in 2016 from a three-year injury layoff.

Also set to fight on the card is “TUF Smashes” and BAMMA vet Colin Fletcher (14-8 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), Ryan Scope (9-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and reality show star Aaron “The Joker” Chalmers  (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA).

Check back with MMAjunkie for updates on the card as they become available.

For more on the upcoming MMA schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Valerie Letourneau out of Friday's Bellator 181 event, Emily Ducote draws new opponent

On the same day Gegard Mousasi’s Bellator signing was made official, another one of the promotion’s free agent pickups has been forced to withdraw from her scheduled debut.

Bellator today announced Valerie Letourneau (8-6 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has suffered an injury and is out of Friday’s women’s flyweight bout with Emily Ducote (5-2 MMA, 3-1 BMMA). She will be replaced by Jessica Middleton (2-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA).

Bellator 181 takes place at Winstar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Middleton is coming off a submission loss to top 125-pound contender Ilima Macfarlane in April. The fight marked her first career defeat after opening with back-to-back wins.

Ducote, meanwhile, makes her fifth Bellator appearance. She is coming off a first-round submission in April which helped her rebound from her first setback under the Bellator banner, which also came against Macfarlane.

For more on Bellator 181, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie