34-Year-Old Bellator Flyweight 9-6-0
December 15, 2017 Valerie Letourneau News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Letourneau defeated Kate Jackson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at Bellator 191 on Friday in Newcastle, England.
Letourneau got back on track with a victory here. She left the UFC last year after dropping three straight fights. Letourneau had previously found new life in her career after moving to 115 pounds. However, the weight cut turned out to be too much. This fight was at flyweight, and Letourneau did seem to have more energy. She clearly had the striking advantage in this fight, but she was not very aggressive and let Jackson hang around in the fight. Letourneau probably only needs one more victory before she challenges Bellator Champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane. Based on this performance, Macfarlane would probably be the favorite in that fight.
Valerie Letourneau: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisLetourneau is set to make her Bellator debut after an injury forced her to withdraw from her scheduled fight against Emily Ducote at Bellator 181 back in July. She'll be fighting at her natural 125 flyweight class after previously being a part of UFC's 115 strawweight class. Letourneau owns a 3-3 UFC (8-6 overall) with three straight losses, including a defeat to Joanna Jedrzejczyk via unanimous decision at UFC 193 in the strawweight championship.
Fantasy AnalysisLetourneau was scheduled to fight Emily Ducote in a flyweight bout for her debut with the promotion. However, due to an undisclosed injury, she has been pulled from the matchup. She will be replaced by Jessica Middleton, who is 2-1 since going pro in 2016.
Fantasy AnalysisLetourneau will debut against Emily Ducote at her natural 125 flyweight class after being part of UFC's 115 strawweight class (UFC currently has no 125 weight class). She has a 3-3 UFC record (8-6 overall) with three straight losses including one to Joanna Jedrzejczyk (unanimous decision). She lands an average 4.51 significant strikes per minute but absorbs 5.40. "Trouble" will be a formidable opponent for the relatively inexperienced Ducote.
Fantasy AnalysisLetourneau is the latest of several UFC fighters to jump ship over to Bellator, though it's admittedly unlikely she would have been offered another contract with the UFC after three straight losses. The 33-year-old has faced some quality names while with the promotion, such as current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but has had a well-documented, brutal weight cut to get to the 115-pound limit. With Bellator, she'll be able to compete at her natural weight class at 125 pounds -- a class the UFC currently does not offer for women. Perhaps this is the move the American Top Team product needs to get her career back on track. At the very least, it will be significantly better for the Canadian's overall health.
Fantasy AnalysisAny natural ability that Letourneau's posses is wiped out in her attempted cut to the strawweight limited of 116 pounds. We say attempted because Letourneau checked in for this fight at 117.5 pounds. On top of that, she insinuated to MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani over the summer that she was dealing with a liver condition due to the stress of her attempted weight cutting. Trouble had a strong Round 1, but all of her energy seemingly evaporated in the final two frames. Despite appearing to be nearly twice Pereira's size, she allowed her much smaller opponent to outmuscle her on repeated occasions. If the UFC doesn't ever plan on instituting a 125-pound female division, Letourneau is going to have to fight at bantamweight. Her body just can't take this anymore.
Fantasy AnalysisLetourneau did not get into specifics, but insinuated that the problem is directly related to intense weight cuts in her past. In her most recent fight against Joanne Calderwood, the UFC created a temporary class at 125 pounds. This fits Letourneau well, as she claims to be too small for the bantamweight division (135 pounds), but may be unable to execute a healthy weight cut if she has to return to the 115-pound class. New weigh-in procedures that allow fighters to hit the scales earlier in the day might make this cut a bit easier, but she'll likely need good news from her doctor before booking her next fight.
Fantasy AnalysisLetourneau was able to last 25 minutes against UFC Women's Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but she couldn't go the entire fifteen against Calderwood. Battered throughout the entire fight, Letourneau's trademark toughness was the only reason she lasted as long as she did. Letourneau ate a pair of front kicks that left her in obvious distress and unable to compete anymore, but the typical incompetence of referee Jerin Valel lead to Valerie taking two or three unnecessary brutal shots before the fight was called off. Letourneau is unable to cut down to the 115-pound strawweight limit in a healthy matter, and although this fight was held at flyweight, the UFC doesn't officially have a 125-pound female division. What's forgotten in all of this is that Letourneau was viewed as nothing more than roster depth before her fight with Jedrzejczyk and there's no reason for that opinion to have changed.
Fantasy AnalysisLetourneau's dangerous weight cut to 115 pounds has been well documented in the past, so the UFC is instituting a rare 125-pound female fight for this one. It was a minor miracle that Letourneau lasted the entire 25 minutes in her title fight against Joanna Jedrzejcyk in November, but no one ever doubted the Canadian’s toughness. Her mixed martial arts skills however are open to interpretation. Letourneau is 3-1 during her time in the UFC, but she doesn’t have much power and she’s a below average athlete. She gets by on grit and determination and little else. A year ago it would have been unimaginable to see Letourneau, who was widely viewed as roster depth, as a favorite over Calderwood, who was widely viewed as one of the better young fighters in the 115-pound women’s division. This bout will tell us a lot about Letourneau’s future. Calderwood certainly isn’t on the level of Jedrzejczyk, but she’s far better than your average strawweight. After this fight everyone will be able to see how much progress Letourneau has truly made.
Fantasy AnalysisLetourneau deserves a ton of credit, she did far better than pretty much anyone thought she would. She was especially strong during the first ten minutes before fading later on. Virtually no one was predicting this fight to last the entire five rounds. Valerie's biggest problem was that she absorbed so many leg kicks that her movement was extremely limited during the second half of the fight. Letourneau isn't on the level of Jedrzejczyk or top challenger Claudia Gadelha, but she is a legitimate top-10 strawweight. She did about as well as she possibly could have in this fight.
Fantasy AnalysisConsidering how hard Jedrzejczyk hits, Letourneau should be seriously concerned about her well being. No one is buying the fact that Letourneau is a legitimate contender for that title, but the UFC wanted Jedrzejczyk on the card and they simply didn't have a better option in terms of finding a suitable challenger. It would have to be considered a positive if Letourneau can make it out of the first round. If you have $100 laying around and you want to throw it on a long shot, you are better off putting it on Holly Holm than Letourneau.
Fantasy AnalysisGood for Letourneau that she gets rewarded after a ton of hard work, but this seems likely to be a massacre. Letourneau isn't particularly athletic and there is zero chance that she can match Jedrzejczyk's power on the feet. It's always nice to get an additional title fight added to a card, but this isn't a particularly intriguing matchup. Joanna should win this quickly.
Fantasy AnalysisLetourneau's postfight interview with Jon Anik was one of the more entertaining highlights of the night. Anik kept asking questions in English, while Letourneau, who's native language is French, basically stood there silently not understanding what he was saying. As for the fight itself, Letourneau landed one huge knockdown in the first round and used her size and power advantage to control Moroz the rest of the way. Letourneau isn't a title contender, but she is going to find herself ranked in the top-10 in the very near future.