While many believe that current UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko may be unbeatable at this point, Bellator women’s 125-pound champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane begs to differ.
Shevchenko successfully defended her title against Liz Carmouche over the weekend in the main event of UFC Uruguay via unanimous decision in a fight that was never in question.
Macfarlane, who has been pretty dominant as a champion in her own right, feels that, even though Shevchenko has looked great since moving down to 125-pounds and has become a world champion, the Hawaiian believes that “The Bullet” can be defeated.
“Totally (she can),” Macfarlane said while appearing on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “When you interviewed me before (over a year ago), I think I said something like, ‘Valentina can beat me nine our of 10 times, all I need is that one shot.’ But I honestly think that she’s totally beatable. She’s beatable. It’s just all about cracking that code, you know, finding that game plan. I actually thought in her fight with Julianna Pena, Julianna was doing really good; she just got caught on the ground. And I think that I’m much better on the ground.
“I just think that my ground game is solid and it would be all about cracking that game plan. But I totally think that she’s beatable. Of course, she’s an elite fighter, she has way more experience than me. When I was looking at her record, I think she has 52 kickboxing matches. Obviously, she has much more experience, but I 100-percent believe that she’s beatable.”
Macfarlane has yet to be defeated in her entire mixed martial arts career and captured the Bellator women’s flyweight title in November 2017, defeating Emily Ducote via armbar in the fifth round at Bellator 186. Since then, “The Iliminator” has successfully defended her title against Alejandra Lara, former UFC title challenger Valerie Letourneau and, most recently, Veta Arteaga.
The fight against Arteaga was the first time fans have seen Macfarlane in a fight that she may have been losing on the judges’ scorecards, which ended after the cage side doctor called a stop to the action after a cut on the challenger’s forehead in the third round.
Who would you favor in a champion vs. champion matchup between Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and Valentina Shevchenko?