A girl has a name. And that name, apparently, is Ilima-Lei Macfarlane.
Flyweight Ilara Joanne is known to fight fans as “Arya Stark,” the pint-sized heroine of HBO’s Game of Thrones (not to mention the A Song of Ice and Fire novels on which the show was based). And yes, she’s “very excited” for the upcoming spin-off House of the Dragon, noting that the network “just keeps teasing us.”
Like her namesake, Joanne has a list of opponents she wants to eliminate. And after getting back in the win column with a unanimous decision win over Alejandra Lara at Bellator 282 this past Friday, Macfarlane is the name she want to cross off next.
“The next name on my list is Ilima-Lei Macfarlane. She was the one I was looking to fight ever since I got the contract from Bellator, so she’s still on my mind,” Joanne (10-6) told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight. “And after that, I want to go after the number two in the rankings, and then to the belt.”
Macfarlane recently returned to action after taking over a year off, only to be upset at home in Hawaii by Justine Kish this past April.
After missing time herself due to a shoulder injury, Joanne is hoping to stay busy this year. “Right now I’m healthy, so I’d like to fight as soon as possible. I’ll say September.”
Happy to be back on the winning track after a two-fight slump, Joanne became emotional when explaining just how much the win meant to her, after fighting around the world against some very tough opponents.
“The media, the odds-makers, everyone thought that I couldn’t do it. And it’s been like this for me ever since before I was born, because I wasn’t desired,” she stated. “To get here with the support of those who really believe in me, those who tell me I can do it, and to show everyone that I can break those shackles, that I can come up here, prove people wrong, prove that I can do it— that has no price for me. That’s what I’m here for, to keep going after self-improvement, and [to] break records, and create my history, make people start [to] believe in me.”
Watch the full Bellator 282 post-fight press scrum with Ilara Joanne above. More coverage from the event can be found below.