Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will defend her flyweight crown on home soil when Bellator MMA makes its first-ever trip to Hawaii on Dec. 15.
Mafarlane will face Valerie Letourneau in the evening’s headliner at Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu. Sherdog.com confirmed the booking with a promotion official following reports from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and KHON2.
The card will air live on the DAZN streaming service and will also include a Bellator welterweight grand prix = clash between Ed Ruth and Neiman Gracie. Hawaii has not hosted a major MMA event since EliteXC “Return of the King” in 2008, which saw K.J. Noons defeat Yves Edwards in the main event. The UFC had been in talks earlier this year to hold a card at Aloha Stadium in 2018, but those negotiations fell through.
Macfarlane claimed the promotion’s inaugural flyweight title with a fifth-round submission of Emily Ducote at Bellator 186 this past November. The 28-year-old Honolulu native then tapped out Alejandra Lara with a third-round armbar in her first title defense at Bellator 201 on June 29. Macfarlane, who trains at Team Hurricane Awesome in San Diego, is 8-0 since beginning her professional career in 2015.
Letourneau, six-time UFC competitor, has kicked off her Bellator tenure with back-to-back decision triumphs over Kate Jackson and Kristina Williams. The 35-year-old Montreal native challenged for strawweight gold in the Octagon, losing a five-round verdict to Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 193 in November 2015.