Ilara Joanne (11-6) carried a secret with her in Bellator 289, at least as far as her mother was concerned:
She hadn’t told her mom that she was fighting.
The Brazilian revealed after her win over former Bellator MMA women’s flyweight title contender and kickboxing champ Denise Kielholtz that “she doesn’t even know I was fighting tonight, because I didn’t want her to get worried. But mom, this is for us, this is for the three of us.”
The fighter known as “Arya Stark,” clearly a Game of Thrones fan, now has back-to-back wins over top five caliber fighters, between Kielholtz and Lara. She hopes that earns her a number next to her own name.
“When I beat Lara, she was number five in the rankings. And now I beat Denise. She’s number three. And I hope I get to be in the rankings now, because I’m still not there, and I think this puts me one fight away from a title shot,” said Joanne.
Joanne was rooting for fellow Brazilian Juliana Velasquez to win Friday, though that didn’t happen. Instead, Liz Carmouche retained her 125lb title in the co-main event. Either way, the title is her goal, and she believes she’ll bring the belt home to mom.
“That was my goal when I got here, and I believe the goal of every other fighter that got into the promotion,” Joanne said. “And I feel that I’m pretty close to it, and I’m certain that when the time comes, the belt is going to my home, it’s going to stay with my mother.”
Watch the full Bellator 289 post-fight media appearance by Ilara Joanne above.