After successfully defending her belt at Bellator 201, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane had a place and a name in mind for her second women’s flyweight title defense: in her native Hawaii against Valerie Letourneau.
The champ, it turns out, is getting both wishes granted.
Macfarlane is set to defend her flyweight title in a DAZN-streamed headlining bout Dec. 15 at Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, in what will be Bellator’s first trip to Hawaii. KHON2 first reported the news, which MMAjunkie confirmed with Bellator officials.
It’s a big move for Bellator as Hawaii has not hosted a major MMA event since “EliteXC: Return of the King” was held on June 14, 2008.
With her recent Bellator 201 win over Alejandra Lara, which came via third-round armbar submission, Macfarlane (8-0 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) continued to run Bellator’s record book. The champ currently has the most consecutive wins, overall wins and finishes among all the promotion’s active female fighters.
Letourneau (10-6 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) is on a two-fight winning streak since her departure from the UFC and return to the 125-pound division. The Montreal native, who’s long been a standout among female fighters worldwide, stamped her title shot by beating Kristina Williams on the same night that Mcfarlane defended her belt.
The two fighters had a friendly chat that night about where their fight should take place. And while they didn’t come to an immediate agreement there, “Trouble” Letourneau said all along that she would have no issue with facing the champ on enemy turf.
While the matchup was merely speculative then, Mcfarlane already discussed her tools to beating an experienced foe in Letourneau.
“One thing I don’t think Valerie has been challenged with yet is an opponent who does very good on the ground,” Macfarlane said. “She hasn’t gone against an opponent yet who keeps the fight on the ground, so that should be interesting.”
News of Bellator’s trip to Honolulu comes on the heels of the UFC’s failed negotiations with the Hawaii Tourism Authority for Aloha Stadium to host UFC 227 last month.
Also on the card are a number of local fighters details coming soon.