Heather Hardy, Las Vegas’ Ana Julaton on MMA collision course

Friday, 20 October 2017, 09:41:34 PM. World champion boxers Heather Hardy and Ana Julaton seem destined to meet now that both have transitioned to mixed martial arts and signed with Bellator MMA.

Las Vegan Ana Julaton is set to make her Bellator MMA debut against Lisa Blaine on a card Friday night in Uncasville, Connecticut.

While Blaine will have her attention in the cage, at least some of Julaton’s focus will be reserved for Heather Hardy’s fight later in the evening on the same card.

Julaton and Hardy are both former world champion boxers who have made the move to mixed martial arts in search of the better opportunities afforded to female fighters in the cage.

Their paths might soon cross.

While Hardy and Julaton each have separate opponents to deal with on the Bellator 185 card, all the talk has been about each other.

“It’s nice to have someone like Heather Hardy follow in my footsteps and hold a dual contract where we can fight in both MMA and boxing,” Julaton said Thursday. “It’s nice to have a counterpart. In the combat sports world, (Muhammad) Ali wouldn’t have been Ali if it wasn’t for Joe Frazier and Sonny Liston.

“If Heather wants to get down, let’s get down.”

Julaton, 37, is 2-2 in four career MMA bouts. She has mostly been out of competition in both MMA and boxing over the last two years as she has been in the gym working on expanding her skillset.

“We put in a lot of work and now I want to showcase it,” she said.

She said she accepted a fight against Hardy on this card, but Hardy’s side turned down the bout.

Hardy, 35, is 20-0 as a boxer. She made a successful MMA debut on a Bellator card in June at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The New York native has spoken out about Julaton in several interviews leading up to this event, but has taken a more measured approach as her fight approaches.

“I’m focused on Kristina Williams right now,” Hardy said. “We can talk about Ana during my post-fight interview.”

The bouts are part of a card headlined by a middleweight title bout between Alexander Shlemenko and former UFC contender Gegard Mousasi, who will make his organizational debut after signing a free-agent deal with Bellator over the summer.

Spike TV will air the main card at 6 p.m.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.

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