Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is bringing Bellator MMA back to Hawaii.
The organization’s flyweight champion made the announcement this morning on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show that she will be returning to the Bellator cage on December 14th at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu.
“December 14th, Bellator Hawaii,” Macfarlane said. “We didn’t officially announce it, but we did a press tour back in May or something.”
Bellator MMA made its debut on Oahu last December with back-to-back fight cards that saw Macfarlane defend her flyweight title against Valerie Letourneanu in front of a sold out home crowd.
Macfarlane did not specify her next opponent, but the former Punahou graduate did say an announcement will be made on September 7th.
“I honestly don’t know, they haven’t told me,” Macfarlane said when asked about who her next opponent will be.
While Macfarlane doesn’t have a clear idea of who she will be defending her 125-pound title against next, she was asked about the possibility of fighting UFC flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko.
Shevchenko defended her title this past Saturday in Uruguay against Liz Carmounche, a teammate of Macfarlane. In fact, Macfarlane was in Carmounche’s corner on Saturday night and said this morning to Helwani that although Shevchenko is an elite fighter, she’s not unstoppable.
“Totally (she can be beaten),” Macfarlane said. “When you interviewed me before (over a year ago), I think I said something like, ‘Valentina can beat me nine our of 10 times, all I need is that one shot.’ But I honestly think that she’s totally beatable. She’s beatable. It’s just all about cracking that code, you know, finding that game plan.”
Macfarlane’s game plan against Shevchenko would be simple – take the fight to the ground.
“I just think that my ground game is solid and it would be all about cracking that game plan,” she said. “But I totally think that she’s beatable. Of course, she’s an elite fighter, she has way more experience than me. When I was looking at her record, I think she has 52 kickboxing matches. Obviously, she has much more experience, but I 100-percent believe that she’s beatable.”