Ilima-Lei Macfarlane makes anticipated return to action at Bellator 279 in Hawaii
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s been nearly 500 days since Hawaii’s Ilima-Lei Macfarlane last saw action in the cag and her highly anticipated return comes simultaneously as Bellator makes its way back to her home state.
“This is the perfect come back fight.” Macfarlane told reporters. “I mean I’m already happy to get in the cage period, but to be able to do it in Hawaii, it’s just like makes everything much better.”
Macfarlane’s last fought back in 2020 against Juliana Velasquez in her first professional loss, taking time following the bout to rehab a knee injury.
She also took a jab at the commentary desk while away from training, at one point considering retirement, however the Punahou alumni knew she still had a lot left in the tank.
“Once I got back into training camp, once I got that date and when they told me it’s going to be back in Hawaii, I was like gosh what was I thinking, I was crazy thinking I was going to retire, like how can I give this up?” Macfarlane said. “It’s definitely not on the books in the near future for me.”
Now set for her third pro fight in the islands, Macfarlane is taking a laid back approach to fight week.
“Yeah I’m just chilling, it’s actually kind of nice not being the main event and I kind of just get to sit back and relax and watch everybody do their thing.” Macfarlane said. “So it’s been really nice and I again I’m not nervous yet, I’m more excited just to fight again.”
And whatever happens this weekend, Ilima-lei can see the impact she’s had on Bellator in Hawaii as she will be joined by strong cast of local fighters at the Blaisdell.
“We are hashtag Team Hawaii.” Macfarlane said. “We all support each other and yeah they’re all my brothers and sisters in arms, like we’re going to battle together.”
Bellator 278 is set to start Friday at 4:30 p.m. Hawaiitime, while “the Iliminator” gets into the cage on Saturday in Bellator 279.
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