At Bellator 289, Liz Carmouche intends to remove any drama from the storyline because she is extremely upset about how her last encounter with Juliana Velasquez went.
In the co-main event of the fight card, Carmouche (4-0 BMMA) will defend her Bellator women's flyweight title against Velasquez (7-1 BMMA) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
In April, Carmouche defeated Velasquez on the ground in the second round to gain the upper hand and move into a dominant position from which she unleashed a barrage of blows that rendered her rival helpless. When referee Mike Beltran intervened to call it off, Velasquez instantly objected to the interruption that had finished her reign as champion.
After the incident, Velasquez sought to fight thrown out, but the board rejected her request. Then, a duel was scheduled, and Carmouche showed up confident that she already owned one decisive victory over the Brazilian.
“I still stand by that I feel the right call was made,” Carmouche told MMA Junkie. “I’ve now seen different angles of the fight where I elbow her in the face. She doesn’t bridge, she doesn’t move her arms. She stares up at the sky and zones out. That, to me, is a fighter that’s no longer in her body. You can be what’s called flash knocked out. You can still have your eyes open and be concussed and have no recollection of the fight, have brain damage.”
Carmouche initially expressed reluctance to run it back, but over time she warmed to the notion. She believes that Velasquez's response to losing and grumbling about the outcome detracted from what could have been a memorable moment in her career, which has irked Carmouche.
“It’s personal,” Carmouche said. “What should’ve been this wonderful moment that I was working toward for so many years, it kind of lost some of its luster because of the claims and because of her demeanor, behavior, and how she carried herself after the fight.”
The possibility of a rematch offers Carmouche the chance to put Velasquez, who is perhaps her toughest opponent in the 125-pound class, on the back foot for the conceivable future with a victory. Carmouche claimed that she enters Bellator 289 with that mindset, and her objective is to finish Velasquez off this time.
“It’s definitely a lot more motivation,” Carmouche said. “Make sure that there’s not a doubt in her mind or anyone else’s that I put her away in such a fashion that she doesn’t need to open her mouth again.”