Ilima-Lei Macfarlane made the perfect return to Honolulu, Hawaii, last December at Bellator 213 when he put Valerie Létourneau in the third round.
How would they do in presenting the encore at Bellator 236’s main event against Kate Jackson?
It didn’t achieve the desired finish this time around, but dominated for 25 minutes on each side as it defeated Jackson by a unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-45) to maintain the Bellator flyweight championship at Neal S. Blaisdell. Arena in Honolulu and live on DAZN.
“You see the evolution of Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and that’s thanks to these guys in my corner,” Macfarlane said in an interview after her fight at DAZN.
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Almost immediately, Macfarlane (11-0) attempted to get on the mat by grabbing Jackson and walking her around the cage. Eventually, Macfarlane managed to find Jackson on the carpet. Jackson put it back on his feet and took the race in the final 45 seconds of the round, landing sharp left elbows as he burst out of the wedge.
The majority of the second round was contested on foot, with both ladies exchanging heavy skin and Jackson having a slight advantage in throwing short elbows and damaging Macfarlane’s nose. However, with about 90 seconds left in the round, Macfarlane took Jackson back. Macfarlane tried for an armbar but the falling seconds of the round were running out.
Macfarlane showed a much improved appearance during the third round as he stood comfortably on his feet and outstripped Jackson. Macfarlane returned to her bread and butter on the fourth and took Jackson back to the carpet. She has been looking for a submission, and with about 45 seconds left, Macfarlane flipped Jackson and tried for an armbar but Jackson was unable to withstand her efforts.
Despite winning every round, Macfarlane fought the fifth round as he did in the first. He fought and tried to win every second. She stayed in the Jackson area, took her downstairs, and then milled her against the cage. The effort led to another ceasefire. He tried to close the show with style, pulling Jackson’s top and thumping under the vicious punches in a giant roar of the crowd as the final horn sounded.
“How could I not come here and represent for everyone?” Macfarlane said about fighting in Hawaii.
AJ McKee leaves Derek Campos to advance to Grand Prix qualifiers
Many MMA experts feel that AJ McKee is the favorite to win the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix and become the champion. Derek Kambos was on his way to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
However, all Campos proved to be a body the way McKee turned him into a triangle armbar at 1:08 of the third round and advanced to the semifinals.
McKee (16-0) got off the knee and was just lost. Plain shot and McKee went to the mat. He got up and immediately placed Kampos against the cage. After grinding there for a moment, McKee was able to get Campos down to all four. McKee kept trying to put Campos in a back-naked choke. Kampos, however, managed to escape his efforts. Campos was able to get McKee to his feet, but the 24-year-old was relentless and took the action back to the ground, where he continued to choke.
The second round started with a brief sensation until McKee threw Campos with a straight left hand. Kampos tried to finish with a series of stadiums and punches with no result. The fight returned to its feet when Campos buzzed McKee with a right hand. If he felt the tide was shifting, McKee went to the mat and invited Campos to join. Kampos obliged. He stayed with McKee’s guard and occasionally landed punches and elbows.
McKee attempted another hit at the start of the third round. Kampos tried to fill the void and was transformed into a rebuild where McKee grabbed Campos’ hand and secured the armbar triangle. After a brief attempt to get out, Campos hit and McKee advanced to the semifinals, remaining undefeated.
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