‘I carry the islands on my shoulders’: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane aims to represent Hawaiian culture at Bellator 236

Macfarlane represents culture in open workout

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Bellator Hawaii is just days away from making it’s official return to the Blaisdell Arena, but fighters are already giving Hawaii MMA fans something to cheer about.

Earlier today a few of the headliners for this weekend’s bouts held open workouts on the beach near the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.

Hawaii’s own Bellator Women’s Flyweight World Champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (10-0) will defend her belt for the second time on home soil against British star Kate Jackson (11-3-1) in the main event of Bellator 236 on Saturday night.

Macfarlane chose to open her workout with a traditional Hula performed by the Makaha Sons of Ni’ihau entitled Papalina Lahi Lahi.

The opportunity to bring Bellator back home to the islands is an opportunity to share Hawaii with the world according the local champion.

“I feel as if I carry a lot, I carry the islands on my shoulders whenever I’m on this platform," said Macfarlane. "My main goal is to defend my belt but my other really big goal is to represent my culture and my home and my people to the best of my ability and to share things the world might not know otherwise.”

Jackson will also be making history when she steps into the cage on Dec. 21 as she will become the first British women ever to contend for a world title.

“There are massive opportunities in the UK now," said Jackson. "It just goes to show how far you can go and it’s absolutely brilliant.”

Macfarlane won’t be the only local fighter on the card Saturday night as Waianae’s Nainoa Dung will get the main card started in a lightweight bout against Maui’s own Zach Zane.

The showdown will feature a battle of the top two lightweight contenders in Hawaii.

“I feel like taking out the number one lightweight in Hawaii puts me position," said Dung. “I feel like I’ll be too strong to fast and too hungry.”

Bellator 236 prelims begin at 2:30 HST and tickets can be purchased here.

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