Bellator MMA beats out UFC for first fight in Hawaii in a decade


Bellator MMA has beaten the UFC to the punch by booking the first major mixed martial arts event in Hawaii in a decade.

Flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, a native of Honolulu, will defend her belt on Dec. 15 in her hometown, taking on Valerie Letourneau, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.

The fight, which will take place at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, was first reported by Honolulu TV station KHON.

Macfarlane (8-0), who now fights out of San Diego, became Bellator’s inaugural 125-pound women’s champ last November with a fifth-round submission of Emily Ducote. The 28-year-old successfully defended her title on June 29 with another submission win, this one against Alejandra Lara.

At that same June event in Temecula, California, Letourneau (10-6) defeated Kristina Williams by unanimous decision. It was her second straight victory since joining Bellator following a stint with the UFC.

The Honolulu fight will be streamed on the new DAZN service, according to the KHON report.

The UFC has been trying to book a Hawaii card that would feature its own Honolulu-born champ, featherweight Max Holloway. But promotion president Dana White told reporters last month that a show proposed for this year “got shut down by the tourism board.”

The last major MMA show in Hawaii was a 2008 event promoted by EliteXC that was headlined by a fight between KJ Noons and Yves Edwards. Nick Diaz also fought that night at the Blaisdell Center.

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