Bellator MMA is going to try to crown a women's featherweight champion once again.
Women's MMA trailblazer Marloes Coenen will take on Julia Budd to crown Bellator's inaugural 145-pound women's ace on March 3 at Bellator 174 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani first reported the latest version of the pairing.
This is not the first time that the promotion has tried to put featherweight gold on Coenen or Budd. Last year, Budd-Coenen was scheduled for Bellator 155 in Boise, Idaho. When Budd suffered an undisclosed injury in training, she was replaced with Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Alexis Dufresne. Unfortunately, Dufresne weighed in at nearly 151 pounds for the bout and then further complicated matters when the overweight “Sneaky Zebra” locked on a triangle-armbar to tap the Dutch MMA pioneer in the first round in one of the year's biggest upsets.
Coenen, 35, has been fighting professionally since November 2000, when she was just 19 years old. Prior to her surprising submission loss to Dufresne in May, the former Strikeforce women's 135-pound champ had won her first two bouts in the Bellator cage, earning submission victories over Annalisa Bucci and Arlene Blencowe.
The 33-year-old Budd has won seven straight bouts with her last three fights inside the Bellator cage, most recently earning a majority decision over the aforementioned Arlene Blencowe in October. The British Columbia native has only lost two bouts in her career: a January 2011 knockout loss in her second pro bout to current UFC women's bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes and in her fourth MMA fight, a 39-second armbar loss to former UFC women's 135-pound queen Ronda Rousey.