Four months after succsefully defending her Bellator flyweight title in her hometown of Honolulu, Punahou graduate Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will look to retain the crown this weekend in the Silicon Valley.
The 29-year-old will face off with top contender Veta Arteaga on the co-main event of Bellator 220 in San Jose on Saturday night.
Macfarlane, who is 9-0 in her career owns the organization record for submission victories with six and recently found even more confidence in her grappling game by adding underwater training with former Navy Seals in San Diego.
“That type of underwater training has provided me with such a sense of calm and relaxation inside the cage. Yeah sure, I’m practice and sparring and everything when I’m rolling you need a certain level of mental game going. When you’re underwater and you don’t have any air source, that takes it to a completely different level,” Macfarlane told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
The Underwater Torpedo League was first introduced to her by former Buffanblu classmate Manti Te’o who also resides in San Diego.
Macfarlane says that the training has been a game-changer both mentally and physically, adding more armour to the guard for the queen of the cage.
“I feel very relaxed in the cage now because I’m like, oh I’ve done this without any air. Now I can actually breathe so it does take my game to another level,” said Macfarlane.
“The bullseye is on my back but I’m okay with that and I understand that. I know that from here on out that all my camps need to be that much more focused because (my opponents) camps are stepping it up as well, trying to take what is mine.”
Arteaga, who earned the title shot by winning back-to-back fights, enters the matchup having won three of her last four bouts and brings a reputation of toughness.
“Veta is as tough as they come. She earned this shot by beating some top contenders including Bellator’s kickboxing champ. She brings a brawling type of style that can really turn this into a war, but I’m ready for it. I know that everyone I face will bring everything they have to take what is mine and I won’t let them,” added Macfarlane.
For more information on the Underwater Torpedo League CLICK HERE.
Bellator 220 is scheduled for Saturday at 4:00pm HST on DAZN Network.