Bellator 262: Juliana Velasquez vs. Denise Kielholtz preview and prediction

Preview and prediction for Juliana Velasquez vs. Denise Kielholtz at Bellator 262.

After ending the undefeated record of Ilima-Lei Macfarlane to capture the Bellator women’s flyweight championship, Juliana Velasquez makes her first title defense in the main event of Bellator 262, as she takes on Denise Kielholtz.

A winner in all 11 of her pro fights so far, Velasquez made her Bellator debut at Bellator 189, submitting Na Liang. She followed that up with a knockout of Rebecca Ruth and a split decision over Alejandra Lara. After wins over Kristina Williams and Bruna Ellen in 2019, Velasquez challenged Macfarlane at Bellator 254 in December, where she took a one-sided decision for the title win.

Originally coming into Bellator through Bellator Kickboxing, where she was a flyweight champion, Kielholtz’s MMA run in Bellator started with wins over Jessica Middleton and Petra Castkova before a loss to Veta Arteaga. Since then, however, Kieholtz has scored four straight finishes, TKO’ing Bryony Tyrell, submitting Sabriye Sengul and Kristina Williams and, most recently, knocking out Kate Jackson in 43 seconds.

Who will win at Bellator 262: Juliana Velasquez or Denise Kielholtz?

Velasquez will have a three-inch height advantage over Kielholtz, as well as a one-inch reach edge.

On paper, this looks like a typical grappler (Velasquez) vs. striker (Kielholtz) battle. But both are more well-rounded than what they appear on paper. Velasquez has shown how hard her striking can be — just look at how her knee damaged Macfarale in their title fight. And Kielholtz holds a few victories by submission in her MMA journey.

Nevertheless, Velasquez will look to use her judo to overwhelm Kieholtz, and Kielholtz will probably look to keep the fight standing. And perhaps the battle of the clinch will be super important.

Kielholtz might be a little younger and more experienced, she may be tough, but Velasquez has a nice opportunity to solidify her champion status here.

Prediction: Velasquez via unanimous decision

Bellator 262 takes place on July 16, 2021, live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncansville, CT. Follow along FanSided for all your live results and highlights.