Ilima Lei-Macfarlane retains flyweight title at Bellator 236 in Hawaii

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Bellator held its back-to-back cards in Hawaii this weekend with Friday’s Salute to the Troops followed by Bellator 236 on Saturday at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

The card on Friday lost its main event with an announcement that Josh Barnett could not compete due to illness and Ronny Markes would be left without a fight. Barnett posted a video that evening, devastated that he could not fight and stating he went to great lengths to try and ensure he could fight.

Saturday’s card had a more positive outcome for the crowd in Honolulu as their own Ilima-Lei Macfarlane successfully defended her women’s flyweight title against Kate Jackson. The hometown native came out to another spectacular entrance that has separated her from any other MMA-related entrance. The closest this year would be Israel Adesanya’s walkout in Melbourne at UFC 243 prior to winning the middleweight title from Robert Whittaker.

Macfarlane dominated Jackson with unanimous scorecards giving her each of the five rounds. Afterward, Macfarlane reiterated her desire for Bellator to add a women’s bantamweight division so she can achieve dual champion status. Macfarlane kept her unbeaten record intact moving to 11-0 in her career with her fourth title defense since winning the championship in November 2017.

This weekend also included the announcement that Macfarlane’s training partner and former UFC fighter Liz Carmouche has signed with the organization. Macfarlane has expressed a willingness to fight her teammate in the future.

The other major fight on Saturday was the quarterfinal in the Featherweight Grand Prix with A.J. McKee advancing to the final four by submitting Derek Campos. The end came in the third round with McKee on his back and wrapping his leg around Campos to secure a tight armbar and the tap.

With the victory, the 24-year old McKee is now 16-0 wrapping up his third fight of the year, which is a feat he has accomplished every year since his debut in 2015.

The remaining quarterfinal fights in the Grand Prix will see Adam Borics fight Darrion Caldwell in January, Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Daniel Weichel in February, and Bellator featherweight champion Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire defends against Pedro Carvalho in March.

Below are the main card results from each card:

Bellator 235: Salute to the Troops:
*Joey Davis def. Chris Cisneros by TKO at 3:55 of Round 1
*Tywan Claxton def. Braydon Akeo by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Alejandra Lara def. Veta Arteaga by unanimous decision (30-26 all)
*Toby Misech def. Erik Perez by KO at 0:54 of Round 1

Bellator 236
*Zachary Zane def. Nainoa Dung by unanimous decision (29-28 all) – this was a very entertaining opener with Zane winning the first two rounds and Dung making a spirited comeback in the third round, but not having enough to win
*Raufeon Stots def. Cheyden Leialoha by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Juliana Velasquez def. Bruna Ellen by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 20-26)
*Jason Jackson def. Kiichi Kunimoto by unanimous decision (30-27 all) – Jackson took this fight earlier this week when Neiman Gracie could not compete
*A.J. McKee def. Derek Campos by triangle armbar at 1:08 of Round 3 in the Featherweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal
*Ilima Lei-Macfarlane def. Kate Jackson by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-44) to retain the Bellator women’s flyweight title

Bellator’s final card of 2019 takes place next weekend with a co-promoted event with Rizin from the Saitama Super Arena headlined by Fedor Emelianenko facing Quinton Jackson.

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