Former Champion Juliana Velasquez and Keri Melendez Join Bellator 301 in Chicago as Fresh Additions

Bellator’s return to Chicago for the second time in five months is steadily taking shape, bringing familiar and fresh faces to the forefront.

Former women’s flyweight champion Juliana Velasquez (12-2 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) is on a mission to regain her stride as she enters the prelims arena. Her opponent is fellow Brazilian Paula Cristina (6-2 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). Adding to the excitement is the undefeated Keri Melendez (5-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA), who is set to go head-to-head with promotional newcomer Sabriye Sengul (3-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA).

Mark your calendars for Bellator 301, a highly anticipated event featuring two title fights and a riveting lightweight grand prix semifinal on the main card. The action unfolds on November 17th at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Tune in as the main card lights up Showtime after an electrifying series of prelims. This marks Bellator’s third visit to the Windy City in just a year, a testament to the region’s vibrant MMA community.

But that’s not all; the preliminary card boasts its share of exciting matchups. Rising lightweight prospect Archie Colgan (8-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) steps into the cage against the experienced Pieter Buist (17-7 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). Meanwhile, Matheus Mattos (13-2-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) is slated to face off against former LFA bantamweight champion Richard Palencia (10-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). These additions to the card were officially confirmed by Bellator officials, with an official announcement anticipated on Monday.

Velasquez’s journey is one of redemption after an impeccable 12-0 start to her career. In December 2020, she won a stunning upset by defeating Ilima-Lei Macfarlane to secure the women’s flyweight title. Seven months later, she successfully defended her title against Denise Kielholtz. However, her reign ended in April 2022 when Liz Carmouche submitted her to Hawaii, resulting in her losing the championship. Eight months later, Velasquez again faced Carmouche in a rematch at Bellator 289, succumbing to another submission.

Cristina, her opponent, has had her share of highs and lows, dropping two of her last three fights following an impressive 5-0 start to her professional career. In her Bellator debut this May, she faced a decision loss to Denise Kielholtz, adding intrigue to her matchup with Velasquez.

With these new additions, the Bellator 301 fight card now boasts an exciting lineup featuring:

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


To find additional information about the event, check out MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 301.

Don’t forget to drop by MMA Junkie’s Instagram page and YouTube channel for engaging discussions and more content, connecting with fellow mixed martial arts enthusiasts.

Share on Social:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Find It Here


Follow US