Ilima-Lei MacFarlane faced a formidable opponent at Bellator 220 in Veta Arteaga, but cut her open in the third round to end the fight.
Ilima-Lei MacFarlane has been nothing short of dominant in her Bellator career. After signing with the promotion at 1-0, the Hawaiian has won eight straight contests with six submissions. In 2017, “The Ilimanator” became the first flyweight champion in the promotion’s history with a fifth-round armbar over Emily Ducote. She defended the belt twice last year with submission victories over Alejandra Lara and former UFC title challenger Valerie Letourneau.
Like MacFarlane, Veta Arteaga was signed by Bellator after her first professional victory. The Idaho resident went 2-2 in her first four fights with the promotion then found her stride. Arteaga has won her last two fights, defeating Emily Ducote and kickboxing specialist Denise Kielholtz in her last two fights, winning by second-round standing guillotine choke in the latter.
Ilima-Lei MacFarlane started the fight with a quick takedown attempt after Veta Arteaga’s early aggression. MacFarlane dragged her down. Arteaga popped up but was swiftly taken down once more. MacFarlane took her back but Arteaga broke free and found herself defending a leg lock. She was able to spin out into a sprawled position and stand up. MacFarlane shot in for a takedown but was stuffed as time expired.
The majority of the second round was spent inside Arteaga’s guard after MacFarlane landed an early takedown. Arteaga defended well, not allowing the champion to posture up until a few minutes later. MacFarlane landed body shots from top position, then Arteaga squirmed out. Straight punches and kicks were landed by both fighters before a combination by Arteaga at the bell.
MacFarlane landed another early takedown in the third round and found the space to land a huge elbow to the forehead of Arteaga. She was immediately split open, and after breaking free from MacFarlane, the referee paused the action to have the cut examined. The doctor determined the the cut was severe enough to stop the action and MacFarlane defended her belt.
The fight-ending elbow can be seen below:
Big elbow from the champ, @Ilimanator in round two. 💪💥 pic.twitter.com/sTAlCSajzk
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) April 28, 2019
Ilima-Lei MacFarlane def. Veta Arteaga by TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage) in Round 3 (1:50)