Bellator #201 features Ilima-Lei Macfarlane in their Main Event

After defeating Maria Rios, Amber Tackett, Rebecca Ruth, Jessica Middleton and Emily Ducote twice, Bellator has San Diego’s Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (left) back in the cage to battle Alejandra “Azul” Lara from Columbia.

On Friday, June 29, 2018, Bellator MMA returns to the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif. for Bellator 201. The fight card has San Diego-based Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (7-0) defending not only her undefeated record but her newly won flyweight crown against Columbia’s Alejandra “Azul” Lara (7-1). Macfarlane last fought on November 3, 2017, when she defeated Emily Ducote by submission at the 3:42 mark of round five.

To say Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is the pride and joy of her gym, the San Diego Combat Academy on Mission Gorge Road in Mission Valley, plus San Diego’s MMA Community, has to be an understatement. With her vivacious personality, she is certainly a treat to be around. Some of the credit might have to go to her affable coach, Manolo “El Huracan” Hernandez, who no doubt infused some of that good-humor, plus the high-intensity, above average coaching she receives from the lady who has also been there and done that Liz Carmouche a UFC veteran.

Like the many MMA fans, Bellator spokesperson/color commentator Jimmy Smith is certainly happy Ilima-Lei Macfarlane came on the scene. “In so many ways Macfarlane is the complete package. She is aggressive; she’s tough. She has that Hawaiian fighting spirit, but she’s also technical. She can fight tight. She can throw good kicks and good punches and knows what she is doing on the ground. She is personable, intelligent, charismatic. She is the complete package and embodies all the attributes you would want in a modern MMA Champion. I am excited to see her grow in Bellator and the people who watch her end up caring about her. They want to see her do well. They want to see her fight again. And that magic of connecting with the people who watch the Bellator fights is huge and she has that 100%.”

Macfarlane’s opponent, 5’7″ tall Alejandra Lara, (two inches taller than Macfarlane who stands 5’5″ tall) hails from Medellin, Colombia. She made her presence known when she finished Lena Ovchynnikova via a rear-naked choke at Bellator 190. The 23-year-old knockout artist has earned seven victories in eight outings since making her professional debut in 2011 and has shown much tenacity in her fights thus far, showcasing a pair of first-round knockouts and multiple submissions. On the heels of her impressive promotional debut, Lara earned her shot at this title fight.

In addition to the women’s flyweight championship being contested, 5’7″ tall, 34-year-old Valerie Letourneau (9-6) from Coconut Creek, Florida is looking to improve to 2-0 inside the Bellator cage, when she meets the always-tough Bruna Ellen (4-1) at 125-pounds.

The Canadian-born Létourneau, a former UFC strawweight title challenger, carries an impressive track record of thrilling fights, highlighted by a world title contest against former champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Since signing with Bellator, “Trouble” has moved up to her more natural weight class, impressively defeating Kate Jackson in her promotional debut. At Bellator 201, the American Top Team-product will look to improve upon her nine victories as a professional, a tally that includes five finishes, with four coming by way of knockout.

At only 21-years-old, Bruna Ellen has already made three appearances for Bellator, competing against the likes of Veta Arteaga and Jessica Middleton. The Campinas, Sao Paula, Brazil native and Team Nogueira-product has won four out of five fights to begin her professional career and will now look to continue her upward trajectory when she meets the former title challenger in a battle of top contenders.

The additional bouts, to include the co-main event, will be announced soon. Hopefully, they’ll be adding some other local favorites: like lightweight Derek Anderson (14-3) from the North County MMA Gym in Escondido, Calif., or gentlemen like Mike Chandler a Bellator Champion from Columbia, Missouri and Phil Davis (18-4) who hails from Harrisburg, Penna. (for the longest time both of these champions trained at the Alliance Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.), A. J. Matthews (9-7) from Carlsbad, Calif., or how about Lena Ovchynnikova (12-5) from Ukraine who often fought here in San Diego on the WCK Muaythai fight cards.

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