Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is perhaps the most dominant champion in Bellator history. With the Hawaiian approaching a year of inactivity, a title defense is imminent. Here are five fighters capable of dethroning the undefeated flyweight Bellator queen.
Although the Dutch flyweight has competed in just ten MMA bouts, Kielholtz is no stranger to combat. The 31-year old fighter has competed in 50 kickboxing bouts and has also competed in boxing. In her last outing, Kielholtz finished Kate Jackson in just 43 seconds. “Miss Dynamite” has an explosive striking and dynamic fighting style that could create problems for Macfarlane.
The UFC and BKFC vet earned her first Bellator victory at Bellator 240, where she defeated Elina Kallionidou by unanimous decision. Rawlings, a bare-knuckle boxing champion, has ruthless aggression that MacFarlane might not be able to manage. “Rowdy” has faced some of the biggest names in women’s MMA, and her experience may prove to be a determining factor in a potential fight with the Bellator queen.
The 36-year old UFC vet made her Bellator debut at Bellator 246, where she defeated DeAnna Bennett by third-round submission. As a trailblazer of women’s MMA, Carmouche has been to the biggest stages against the best competition. The “Girl-Rilla” has faced the likes of Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko, and Jessica Andrade. Her versatile style of fighting and her fight IQ could create serious problems for the flyweight champ.
The 32-year old Japanese fighter has been dominant since her MMA debut in December 2017. With an unscathed record of 9-0-1, Watanabe won her debut fight in Bellator at Bellator 237 against Ilara Joanne. As the #2 ranked pound-for-pound women’s fighter in Japan, the Judo style fighter could bring the pressure to Macfarlane in a potential matchup.
Velasquez has been a quiet contender in the women’s flyweight division for years. The Brazilian has accumulated an immaculate record of 10-0 professionally. The Team Nogueira fighter has victories over Alejandra Lara, Kristina Williams, and Bruna Ellen. Yet without a fight in 2020, Velasquez could be one fight away from a flyweight title shot.