Coming off a two-fight skid, former Bellator women’s flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane was in need of a win at Bellator 284 on Friday night.
While the Hawaiian has mulled retirement of late, there’s no cure for the blues like a big victory, and a fight with young flyweight Bruna Ellen, still just 26 after six years in the promotion, offered that possibility.
Macfarlane saw things get complicated when she missed weight for the fight, however, coming in three pounds heavy. It didn’t appear to slow her any in the fight, mind you.
In the opening minute of Macfarlane vs. Ellen, the pair stayed standing, exchanging several times at center. Neither appeared willing to back down; Ellen did more circling, while Macfarlane flashed an uppercut. Ellen showed good hand speed, while the ex-champ hung with her. Towards the end of the ground, Macfarlane would fall back on her wrestling, driving Ellen up against the fence. Ellen defended with a whizzer, but the champ would pull her legs out from under her and plant her on her backside in the dying seconds of the round.
Having found success at the end of the first with it, Macfarlane went back to her wrestling early in round two. Pursuing a double leg against the fence, she was stymied by Ellen, who was able to fight her off. That said, the ex-champ was eating up control time. Ellen was slipping behind by the midway mark of the round.
The third round played a major role in the outcoming of the fight. Round three saw Ellen turn the tables on Macfarlane. The ex-champ landed an early takedown, but Ellen got back up. The Brazilian then caught Macfarlane in a guillotine, jumping guard. Macfarlane was in a rough spot, not moving much, and apparently banking on Ellen burning her arms out. Macfarlane would eventually defend, giving herself some relief, but incredibly, Ellen would keep her stuck there until the final minute or so of the round. That’s when Macfarlane finally made space to frantically land some ground n’ pound.
Come the scorecards, it was close — but Macfarlane was able to take the decision with two judges.
Official Result: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane def. Bruna Ellen by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)