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Bellator MMA

Undefeated women's flyweight champion Juliana Velasquez will be in action on Friday night when she defends her title against Denise Kielholtz in the main event of Bellator 262. The action is set to go down from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Velasquez is making the fist defense of the title she won with a decision win over then-champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane this past December. That win ran Velasquez's career record to an impressive 11-0, with six wins in the Bellator cage. The loss was the first of Macfarlane's career, making Velasquez's victory an even bigger accomplishment.

Kielholtz is an accomplished kickboxer, having captured the Bellator kickboxing women's flyweight championship in 2016. In the Bellator MMA cage, Kielholtz has picked up a 6-1 record and is currently riding a four-fight winning streak, winning twice by knockout and three times by submission despite her striking background.

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The action on Friday fills out nicely below the main event. What is expected to be a wild heavyweight scrap between veterans Tyrell Fortune and Matt Mitrione gets the co-main event slot. Fortune holds a 10-1 record in his career with all fights taking place under the Bellator MMA banner. His lone loss came by vicious knockout against Tim Johnson in February 2020, but he has scored stoppage victories in seven of his 10 wins. Mitrione, 42, is heading in the opposite direction ahead of this bout. The Bellator and UFC veteran has lost three straight after a promising start to his run with Bellator MMA that included a four-fight win streak with three knockouts over Carl Seumanutafa, Oli Thompson and the legendary Fedor Emelianenko.

Plus, Matheus Mattos takes on Cee Jay Hamilton in a bantamweight contest. Both men are coming off defeats at the hands of arguably the hottest fighter in the 135-pound division currently in Magomed Magomedov. But the man people really need to keep an eye on is Johnny Eblen in the opening bout of the main card. Eblen faces off with Travis Davis at middleweight, but the prospect seems to have turned the corner as a pro in his most recent bout. Eblen (8-0) picked up his first stoppage under the Bellator banner in May after three straight decision wins.

Here's the fight card for Bellator 262 with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook.

Bellator 262 card, odds

FavoriteUnderdogWeightclass

Juliana Velasquez (c) -360

Denise Kielholtz +280

Women's flyweight championship

Tyrell Fortune -360

Matt Mitrione +280

Heavyweight

Matheus Mattos -280

Cee Jay Hamilton +230

Bantamweight

Arlene Blencowe -175
Dayana Silva +150
Featherweight
Johnny Eblen -650
Travis Davis +475
Middleweight

Bellator 262 viewing information

Date: July 16 | Start time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena -- Uncasville, Connecticut
TV Channel: Showtime

Prediction

Juliana Velasquez vs. Denise Kielholtz -- Kielholtz has developed a well-rounded game since entering the Bellator cage as a striker. That said, if Kielholtz is forced to use her grappling in this fight, that plays into Velasquez's hand. Similarly, Velasquez is plenty capable on the feet, but likely won't be looking to get into a straight kickboxing match with Dutchwomen to play into her opponent's strength. Despite the odds, this is a competitive fight and comes down to which fighter is able to force the other to play her game. Velasquez is just a little bit more dynamic and capable of imposing her will, which should be enough to get a hard-fought decision. Pick: Juliana Velasquez via UD