Kana Watanabe, one of the best female prospects in the world, is heading to Bellator.
The promotion's President Scott Coker released the following statement to MMA Junkie confirming the news:
“Kana Watanabe is an Olympic judo qualifier, so she’s got extremely great judo technique. She fought last year in the RIZIN show against Bellator, and she beat one of our Brazilian girls, so she kind of caught my eye a little bit,” Coker said. “She’s been working on her striking over there, and she’s working on her complete game. We had the opportunity to sign her through RIZIN, so we made a deal.”
Watanabe (9-0-1) isn't a complete stranger to the Bellator family as she competed for the promotion in December 2019, defeating fellow prospect Ilara Joanne via third-round TKO. The 32-year old Japanese standout joins several up-and-coming prospects to recently ink deals with the Connecticut-based promotion. Watanabe competes in the flyweight division, the same division that grabs the marquee at Bellator 254. Reigning-champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane puts her title and undefeated record on the line against Julianna Velazquez.
Fightful will bring you live coverage of Bellator 254 on Thursday, December 10. The prelims begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, leading into the main card on CBS Sports Network at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.