Ilima-Lei Macfarlane closed out Bellator 236 with a great defense of her flyweight title, dominating the tough Kate Jackson for 25 minutes.
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane has been nothing short of excellent since her Bellator debut in 2015. The Hawaiian is 10-0 in her career with everything but her MMA debut taking place in the Bellator cage. She has six wins by submission and most recently won by doctor’s stoppage against Veta Arteaga in what was her third title defense.
Kate Jackson was a part of the flyweight season of The Ultimate Fighter, where she went 2-1, losing to eventual show winner Tatiana Suarez. She signed with Bellator after a win that followed her TUF appearance. Jackson is 3-1 since then with wins over Anastasia Yankova and Lena Ovchynnikova.
Macfarlane started with several jabs then initiated a clinch. Jackson tried to counter with a trip, but Macfarlane stayed upright and kept her grip on Jackson. Macfarlane kept pushing and eventually got her down. Jackson had butterfly guard, but Macfarlane got around it into half guard. Jackson used the wall to stand up, but Macfarlane countered with a standing anaconda choke and landed several knees. Jackson broke out of the choke and had a back clinch briefly, but Macfarlane re-established her clinch position. The fighters broke free at the very end of the round and connected with hard shots.
Macfarlane landed a right hand out of the gate in the second round. Jackson started landing leg kicks forcing Macfarlane to blitz in with punches and clinch. Jackson spun her around and dirty boxing ensued from both sides. Jackson separated and landed a left hand right into another clinch. This time, Macfarlane spun her around and dropped for a double-leg takedown. She got it and moved into half guard. At the end of the round, Macfarlane established mount off a Jackson sweep and went for an armlock but couldn’t get it.
Jackson went for a clinch early in the round and avoided a trip. They separated and got back to striking range. Macfarlane landed a few shots to the body and Jackson countered with a clinch. Nothing came of it and they separated. Macfarlane wobbled Jackson with a left hand, but she recovered quickly. The Hawaiian landed a huge combination then took Jackson down again into half guard, ending the round on top.
Championship rounds began and Macfarlane nailed Jackson with an uppercut right into a takedown. Jackson tried to counter with a sweep, but Macfarlane won the scramble and stayed on top. She began working from half guard. Macfarlane threw the legs of Jackson across and took her back. She was off the side of Jackson’s back and went for an armbar, rolling Jackson over. Jackson defended well and made it to the final round.
Macfarlane darted forward with an combination, keeping Jackson at bay. A body kick landed for Jackson, but she ate another combo from Macfarlane. Jackson clinched up with the champion against the cage. On the exit, Macfarlane landed an uppercut, forcing another clinch from Jackson. Macfarlane spun around and got yet another takedown with less than a minute to go. She went into mount, postured up and threw heavy blows in the waning seconds, but Jackson survived to the final bell.
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane def. Kate Jackson by Unanimous Decision (50-44 x2, 50-45)