Bellator 279: Justine Kish Questioned If She Was Being Used As “Tomato Can” After Getting Macfarlane Booking


Justine Kish is making a relatively short turnaround, about eight weeks, as she returns to the Bellator cage this Saturday at Bellator 279.

Keeping the momentum rolling has been a struggle for Kish (7-5) throughout her MMA career. The opportunity to fight again so soon after her Bellator debut was a major factor in her taking the fight, against former women’s flyweight champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane.

“Getting momentum has been the hardest thing since I jumped to MMA,” Kish told media outlets including Cageside Press at Thursday’s Bellator 279 media day. “Obviously if you guys have followed anything on my social media, it’s been family issues, it’s been, lots of ups and downs, and the hardest thing to do was just get momentum. And I operate really, really well with momentum. So I’m very grateful that I did get this opportunity.”

Kish would add that “there were things that were almost keeping me from landing it and being here this week.” The subject is one Kish said she’d prefer to go into in more detail about after the fight — but she underscored how badly she wanted to be part of this week’s event.

Now, Kish is just trying to iron the kinks out. “I’ve been doing everything I can do iron things out. I just feel like I’ve been ironing really in the past few fights. I’m not getting hurt, I’m really just getting humped to death, and I want to— of course losses are hard on me, but I know I haven’t been losing at my best. And that’s what I’ve been working so hard for, is just to be at my best, and to have these performances that I see in my mind and I feel in my heart. And I’m just doing everything I can to showcase this, for a good show, a good fight.”

Kish admitted Thursday to feeling some surprise at getting paired up with a former champ, despite being on a three fight skid. She called those close to her, saying “‘Oh my god, I think I just became a tomato can.’ That doesn’t sit well with me.”

“I grew up in combat sports, almost like the star of the show, and how things have turned around, I’m like ‘oh my god this isn’t me,'” Kish continued. “And I’m doing all I can in my training to again, show you guys, show the audience the kind of performance I really want to give out there.”

There’s a silver lining to the match-up, even if some might be painting Justine Kish as a tomato can. “Of course, [Macfarlane]’s number one, she’s the number one contender. I feel like this opportunity came to me in such a way, I don’t know how, but I know a win against her will catapult me to the position in the rankings I think I deserve to be in.”

Watch the full Bellator 279 media day scrum with Justine Kish above. Kish faces Ilima-Lei Macfarlane this Saturday, April 23, 2022 at Bellator 279 in Honolulu, Hawaii.


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