Ex-champ Juliana Velasquez, Keri Melendez among new additions to Bellator 301 in Chicago

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The lineup for Bellator’s second trip to “The Windy City” in five months continues to build with a former champion set for the prelims.

Former women’s flyweight champ Juliana Velasquez (12-2 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) will try to get back on track when she takes on fellow Brazilian Paula Cristina (6-2 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). Additionally, the undefeated Keri Melendez (5-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) will take on promotional newcomer Sabriye Sengul (3-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA).

Bellator 301, which features two title fights and a lightweight grand prix semifinal on the main card, takes place Nov. 17 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie. The event will be Bellator’s third trip to Chicago in a year.

In addition, lightweight prospect Archie Colgan (8-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) takes on Pieter Buist (17-7 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) and Matheus Mattos (13-2-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) meets former LFA bantamweight champion Richard Palencia (10-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) on the preliminary card. Bellator officials informed MMA Junkie of the new bookings Sunday. An official announcement is expected Monday.

Velasquez had a perfect 12-0 start to her career, and in December 2020 upset Ilima-Lei Macfarlane to win the women’s flyweight title. She defended it seven months later against Denise Kielholtz. But in April 2022, she was submitted by Liz Carmouche in Hawaii and lost the belt. Eight months later, she was submitted by her in a rematch at Bellator 289. Cristina has dropped two of her past three fights after a 5-0 pro start. In May, she lost a decision to Kielholtz in her Bellator debut.

With the additions, the Bellator 301 lineup now includes:

MAIN CARD (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Yaroslav Amosov vs. Jason Jackson – for welterweight title
  • Champ Sergio Pettis vs. interim champ Patchy Mix – bantamweight title unification bout
  • Danny Sabatello vs. Raufeon Stots
  • A.J. McKee vs. Sidney Outlaw
  • Patricky Freire vs. Alexander Shabliy – lightweight grand prix semifinal


  • Ali Isaev vs. Daniel James
  • Tyrell Fortune vs. Marcelo Golm
  • Justin Gonzales vs. Timur Khizriev
  • Pieter Buist vs. Archie Colgan
  • Paula Cristina vs. Juliana Velasquez
  • Keri Melendez vs. Sabriye Sengul
  • Matheus Mattos vs. Richard Palencia
  • Mike Hamel vs. Tim Wilde
  • Sumiko Inaba vs .Denise Kielholtz
  • Islam Mamedov vs. Killys Mota

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 301.

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