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Heather Hardy signs with Bellator, to fight Alice Yauger in New York

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
Unbeaten boxer Heather Hardy will make her MMA debut on June 24 when she faces Alice Yauger at Bellator 180 in New York. (Getty Images)

Heather Hardy, who has put together a perfect 20-0 record en route to becoming arguably the most popular female boxer in the U.S., has signed with Bellator and will fight on its June 24 card at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Hardy, who is a major draw in New York for boxing, will face Alice Yauger in a three-round flyweight fight in one of the online preliminary fights at Bellator 180.

Last year, frustrated by her inability to make big money as a boxer despite her popularity and her perfect record, she announced she would compete in MMA as well and signed to fight at Invicta 21 against Brieta Carpenter.

That fight, though, was canceled when Carpenter was injured and so the bout with Yauger at Bellator 180 will be her MMA debut.

It figures to attract considerable attention in New York, where she has become a significant ticket-seller on promoter Lou DiBella’s “Broadway Boxing” shows.

She drew excellent ratings on NBC Sports Network last August for her fight with arch rival Shelly Vincent, and has become an in-demand fighter.

When she signed to face Carpenter, she was confident of victory despite her lack of MMA experience.

“I’m confident,” she told Thomas Gerbasi of Culturess.com. “If I was out on the street, you could give me 10 opponents, I’m not going to lose. They ain’t taking my wallet.”

Yauger, 38, is 4-5 and coming off a loss to Jessica Middleton at Bellator 171.