Valerie “Trouble” Letourneau makes her highly anticipated return to the cage at this Friday’s Bellator 191 event when she battles England’s own Kate Jackson.
Letourneau (8-6-0) is a former UFC strawweight who decided to leave the organization as they did not have a flyweight division at the time. She severely depleted her body attempting to make 115-pounds and decided to take a year off from competition in order to rebuild her muscle mass. At 125-pounds she believes she is the best in the world. Meanwhile, Jackson (9-2-1) is coming off an impressive five-fight win streak in professional MMA competition, including four finishes. She previously competed on The Ultimate Fighter 23 and was coached by Claudia Gadelha, losing out in the semi-finals to eventual winner, Tatiana Suarez.
Ahead of Friday’s event, the WMMA Rankings team have made their predictions for the upcoming Letourneau vs. Jackson bout. Take a look at them below.
Nick: Though Kate Jackson shouldn’t be underestimated, I believe a rejuvenated and hungry Val gets the job done. I think the high-level experience and strong striking of Letourneau will lead her to a unanimous decision victory over a gritty and well-rounded opponent.
Pick: Valerie Letourneau
Lucy: I’d say Letourneau really needs a win here, she’s lost three straight including a five round fight with Joanna where she did a lot better than most people expected. She was supposed to make her Bellator debut earlier this year but unfortunately had to drop out, better late than never though. I’d say her stand-up is her strongest asset. She’s fought at 135, where she was too small and it seemed to be a hard cut to 115 for her, 125 is perfect for Valerie and she was showing some good stand-up against Joanne Calderwood before getting caught with a brutal body shot, I think she’ll do well at 125 in Bellator. With Jackson, I’m surprised that she didn’t get picked up by UFC after TUF considering other athletes that got signed afterwards. She’s got a good record and has only lost two fights in the last five years to Joanna and Tatiana Suarez (not official) who are two top names in their division. I’d say this will probably be mostly a standup fight but wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson tries to take it to the ground either. I have Jackson winning by TKO, but Valerie has surprised me in the past like her win over Maryna Moroz.
Pick: Kate Jackson
Noah: Letourneau is the fan-favorite leading into this one, mostly thanks to her UFC exposure. However, Kate Jackson really should not be counted out, she’s improved immensely over the last few years and I was very surprised to see she wasn’t picked up by the UFC after TUF 23. She possesses a very well-rounded game and has shown the ability to finish fights using a combination of submissions and knockouts. Having said that, I believe we will be seeing a very determined and motivated Letourneau on Friday and if I have to make a pick I say she uses her striking to outpoint Jackson for the decision win.
Pick: Valerie Letourneau
Bellator 191 takes place this Friday December 15 from the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England, United Kingdom. The event will be aired on tape delay via Spike TV from 9pm EST.