Liz Carmouche says ‘it’s personal’ vs. Juliana Velasquez


Liz Carmouche is still bothered by the way her first fight with Juliana Velasquez unfolded and plans to disqualify any controversy from the narrative at Bellator 289.

Carmouche (17-7 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) will put her Bellator women’s flyweight title on the in the co-headliner of the event, when she rematches Velasquez (12-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) for the title at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.

The title changed hands in April, when Carmouche managed to put Velasquez on the ground in the second round and advance into a dominant position where she rattled off a series of strikes that stunned her opponent. Referee Mike Beltran stepped in to wave it off, and immediately Velasquez protested the stoppage that ended her title reign.

In the aftermath of the event, Velasquez lobbied to have the fight overturned, but the commission denied her appeal. A rematch was then set, and Carmouche enters convinced that she already has one clear-cut win over the Brazilian in her pocket.

“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.”

Although Carmouche initially said she wasn’t keen on running it back, she’s become warm to the idea over time. She thinks that Velasquez’s reaction to the defeat and complaint over the finish took something away from what should’ve been a special moment in her career, and that has rubbed Carmouche the wrong way.

“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 opportunity for a rematch has upside for Carmouche, too in that she can put arguably her toughest matchup in the 125-pound division behind her on the back burner for the foreseeable future with another win over Velsquez.

That’s the mentality Carmouche enters Bellator 289 with, she said, and her goal is to put an exclamation point on Velasquez this time around.

“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.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 289.

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