Some breaking news coming from Bellator MMA this week as they beat the UFC to paradise by officially announcing Bellator Hawaii.
The Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii will host the event. Featuring the homecoming of Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (8-0) as she puts her women’s flyweight title on the line against number one contender Valerie Letourneau (10-6) in the main event on Saturday, December 15.
The monumental show marks Bellator’s first trip to Hawaii and the first major MMA show to be held in Hawaii since 2008. That event being EliteXC: Return of the King.
ILIMA-LEI MACFARLANE TO HEADLINE BELLATOR HAWAII WITH FLYWEIGHT TITLE DEFENSE AGAINST VALERIE LETOURNEAU DEC. 15 ON DAZN
In addition, Bellator Hawaii will also feature the promotional debut of Lyoto Machida (24-8), where he is welcomed to the Bellator cage by former world champion Rafael Carvalho (15-2). Also, the first round of Bellator’s Welterweight Grand-Prix rolls on when two undefeated fighters meet as Neiman Gracie (8-0) takes on Ed Ruth (6-0), the winner will face the winner of Rory MacDonald vs. Jon Fitch in the semi-finals.
Lastly, in a battle of top-ranked light heavyweights, Liam McGeary (12-3) faces Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (21-7, 1NC) in a pivotal 205-pound clash.
No Paramount Network for this one, sadly. The card will air exclusively on DAZN.
A native of Honolulu, current Bellator Women’s Flyweight Champion, fan-favorite Ilima-Lei MacFarlane made her pro debut in 2015 with a KO victory that went incredibly viral. Since then, she has not looked back and remains undefeated. With impressive wins over Emily Ducote and Jessica Middleton, “The Ilimanator” earned a shot at inaugural Bellator gold at Bellator 186 in a rematch with Ducote, winning by way of submission. Most recently, she defeated Alejandra Lara, also by submission, to pick up her first title defense. Now, in front of her home crowd, MacFarlane looks to get the biggest win of her young career.
The Canadian-born Valerie Letourneau is a former UFC strawweight title-challenger who carries an impressive track record of thrilling fights. This of course highlighted by the world title contest against former UFC title-holder Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Since signing with Bellator, “Trouble” is undefeated after moving up to her more natural weight class, convincingly taking out Kristina Williams and Kate Jackson. At Bellator Hawaii, however, the American Top Team product will look to improve upon her ten victories as a pro, a tally that includes five finishes and four knockouts, en route to dethroning MacFarlane to become the new Bellator Women’s Flyweight Champion.
After signing with Bellator in June of 2018, Machida will make his highly-anticipated promotional debut on one of the biggest cards of the year. The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, often simply referred to as “The Dragon,” will step inside the Bellator cage for the first time in a middleweight co-main event. A two-division threat, Machida enters the organization on the heels of a highlight-reel Knockout of the Year contender vs. Vitor Belfort. The karate specialist owns notable career wins over Tito Ortiz, “Shogun” Rua, Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, and Randy Couture. Funnily enough, he also owns wins over two current Bellator MMA champions. Defeating both Gegard Mousasi and Ryan Bader whilst in the UFC.
The always-dangerous Rafael Carvalho has his sites set on reclaiming his middleweight title, and what a statement he would make by taking out Lyoto Machida. Previously, the Brazilian was riding a 15-fight win streak that included two title defenses over Melvin Manhoef and a quick win over Alessio Sakara.
Fighting out New York City, Neiman Gracie has established himself as the next dominant force of the famed Gracie Family. Following a highly successful grappling career, the BJJ black belt made his pro MMA debut in 2013 and has been gold never since. With seven of eight wins coming by way of submission, the Renzo Gracie trained fighter is a threat to anyone on the mat at 170-pounds.
A former three-time NCAA Division 1 National Champion out of Penn State, Ed Ruth will face the toughest test of his young, thriving career when he returns to action in Honolulu. While boasting an obviously tremendous wrestling background, “EZ” has finished five opponents with strikes. This includes a few staggering knockouts while standing. The Fresno-based fighter put the 170-pound division on notice following a second-round TKO win in his most recent bout, this being his welterweight debut.
Gracie vs. Ruth, along with every other welterweight grand-prix match-up, will be contested over the course of five rounds. Beginning with MacDonald vs. Fitch, the belt will be on the line throughout the tournament. Meaning when the winner of Gracie vs. Ruth fights the winner of MacDonald vs. Fitch, it will be a world title bout as well as a grand-prix bout.