Temecula, California – Friday, June 29 – 10:30 pm (ET) / 2:30am (GMT)
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will defend her flyweight title for the first time this weekend when she faces Alejandra Lara in a five-round battle at Bellator 201.
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is on her way to stardom. It might not be similar to what could be expected from similar performances in the UFC, but Macfarlane is quickly becoming a well-known fighter in the Bellator ranks. Since arriving in Bellator back in 2015, Macfarlane has gone on to almost clean out the entire division and maintain her undefeated record. She defeated Maria Rios, Amber Tackett, Rebecca Ruth, Jessica Middleton, and Emily Ducote twice, all in impressive style. Her last fight with Ducote was a battle for the Bellator Women’s Flyweight Championship, and Macfarlane picked up an impressive fifth-round submission to finish the fight and claim the title. If she defeats Lara here at Bellator 201, there are not many challengers remaining for Macfarlane.
Alejandra Lara is next for Macfarlane and will likely present an exciting challenge for the champion, albeit not a particularly strong one. The 23-year-old has stormed into the division after defeating Lena Ovchynnikova at Bellator 190 in December. The submission victory moved Lara to a record of 7-1 and backed up her history of winning in local Colombia promotions. It’s interesting to note that Lara’s previous six fights before Bellator had a combined total of just one professional win. Yes, five of those had never experienced victory. Macfarlane represents a significant step up in competition for Lara.
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, who is a very skillful grappler with excellent takedowns, control, and submissions, will be looking to use her advantages on the mat during this fight against Lara, whose best work came on the mat in her most recent fight, as well.
Against Rebecca Ruth, Macfarlane easily controlled the fight and ended up dominating Ruth, who was largely expected to be the stronger of the two. Macfarlane’s slick grappling saw her take the back and submit Ruth with a perfect rear-naked choke. Against Ducote, Macfarlane was tested in many different areas, but again it was her grappling that paid dividends as she won the fight via triangle armbar in the fifth and final round. With experience in 10th Planet jiu-jitsu and a background competing in combat jiu-jitsu, Macfarlane will be looking to use her slick techniques to submit Lara early in this one.
Can Lara hold off the advances of Macfarlane? And does she have hope when it hits the mat? Maybe. And that indicates that this fight could be closer than many are expecting it to be. Lara’s finish of Lena Ovchynnikova demands respect. She also survived the top pressure of Ovchynnikova in round one after being taken down. While standing, Lara utilizes unorthodox techniques and operates from an unusual stance, that might also cause some problems for Macfarlane.
However, it would be surprising to see Macfarlane lose to Lara in this main event and we’ll bet accordingly.
The odds are out and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is an unsurprising favorite in this main event.
At the moment, she’s at -600 with 888 Sport, while Alejandra Lara is sitting at +325 .
Recommended bet: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane to win -600 – 888 Sport