HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Bellator women’s flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane has returned home for the first time since defending her title at Bellator 213 here in Honolulu in December.
The former Punahou graduate is only staying on island for a couple weeks -- mainly to unwind and attend the Punahou Carnival -- before kicking off her training camp for another title defense in April against Veta Arteaga.
While it's a short turnaround for the champ, Macfarlane said that she was the one who pushed for the fight early in the year.
"A lot of people are like, didn't you just fight at Bellator Hawaii? So this is kind of a quick turnaround, you know, four months apart,” Macfarlane said. “But I specifically requested to fight sooner than later. The Hawaiian wave's coming to San Jose, California so I hope everybody tunes in and watches."
Macfarlane isn’t one to shy away from any challenger. After defending her Bellator flyweight title for the first time last summer against Alejandra Lara, Macfarlane submitted Valerie Letourneau last December in Honolulu at Bellator 213.
Arteaga, however, is a much different opponent, according to Macfarlane.
“She’s just been on a rampage. She recently beat the (Bellator) Kickboxing champion who everybody thought was going to be the next title contender and Veta guillotined her, finished her … she also beat my teammates and friend in both of their Bellator debuts so I’m kind of like out to redeem my teammate and get that win back for us.”
After two successful Bellator events in at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in 2018, Bellator president Scott Coker said after Bellator 213 that he wanted the bring the promotion back to the islands every year.
Macfarlane confirmed with Hawaii News Now this morning that Bellator is in fact looking at a return to Honolulu later this year.
In the meantime, Macfarlane will have to settle for a fight on the West Coast in San Jose, which she said will still feel like home.
“There’s a lot of locals up in (Northern California). So that Hawaiian wave is coming to San Jose.”
Macfarlane will take on Arteaga on April 27th when Bellator visits San Jose, California. The two flyweights will be in the co-main event of the evening.