Last night, Bellator MMA capped off an action-packed weekend in Hawaii with its second show in as many nights. In the main event of this second show, Hawaii’s own Ilima-Lei MacFarlane returned to the cage to defend her Bellator flyweight strap against former UFC strawweight title challenger Valerie Letourneau.
As expected, the Hawaiian champ had en epic walk to the cage for this fight, which she won by third-round submission.
See the champ’s unforgettable Bellator Hawaii walkout below:
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) December 16, 2018
Speaking to the media after her Bellator Hawaii win, Ilima-Lei looked back on her emotional walk to the cage. Unsurprisingly, she had a difficult time keeping her emotions in check.
“Every single time I calmed myself down, then something else happened,” Macfarlane told MMAjunkie following her victory. “It really didn’t end until the cage door closed, really. That’s when it was like, ‘All right, no more crying – you’ve got to get this fight over with first.’”
Now that her victory is secure, Ilima-Lei MacFarlane is focused on enjoying the moment.
“Just relief,” she said when asked about her emotions post-fight. “I think everything couldn’t be more perfect right now. Even watching some of the prelim fights and seeing some of the Hawaii boys and all the local fighters throwing down and just representing – like, everything has just been perfect, more than I could imagine. So I’m relieved. I’m so happy, and it’s time to party.”
While this is only the beginning for the Bellator flyweight champ, whose record now sits at a perfect 8-0, she says the experience of fighting in Hawaii will be a tough one to top.
“Probably like having a baby or something is, I think, the only thing that can top this feeling,” she said. “I don’t know. This was my dream from the beginning, was just to fight at home, and it exceeded all my expectations, so I really don’t know how to top this as far as my fighting career goes. Oh, I know, opening up 10th Planet Oahu, having my own gym over here. That will be it.
“I’m so happy that all eyes was on Hawaii tonight, and we all won. This is a win for everybody.”
What did you think of this performance from Ilima-Lei MacFarlane?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/16/2018.