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Bellator MMA signs former UFC strawweight title challenger Valerie Letourneau

The Bellator women’s flyweight division has been bolstered with the signing of former UFC strawweight contender Valerie Letourneau.

UFC 193: Jedrzejczyk v Letourneau Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Another former UFC title challenger is Bellator bound.

If you watched Bellator 178 on Friday night, you may have noticed that they had one-time women’s strawweight title contender Valerie Letourneau in attendance and spotlighted on camera. That evening, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported that a deal to sign the Canadian was close to being finalized. As of Monday, Bellator PR confirmed it is now official.

Letourneau (8-6) made her UFC debut as a bantamweight in June 2014, beating Elizabeth Phillips by split decision. She made the move down to strawweight at UFC 186, beating TUF 18 runner-up Jessica Rakoczy by unanimous decision. After besting Maryna Moroz, Letourneau earned a title shot against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 193, and lost by unanimous decision. Letourneau then fought Joanne Calderwood in a special women’s flyweight matchup last June, suffering a third-round TKO defeat. In her final UFC fight before the promotion released her, Letourneau missed the strawweight limit and lost a listless split decision vs. Viviane Pereira at UFC 206.

No champion has been crowned in Bellator MMA’s women’s flyweight division, but Ilima-Lei Macfarlane figures to be the top fighter, and further impressed fans with her armbar of Jessica Middleton last week. Anastasia Yankova is the other feature fighter but she’s not once actually fought at 125 lbs under the Bellator banner. Signing Letourneau, who is surely best suited for 125, provides Bellator with depth and likely an instant contender in the division.