“I cried every time I watched that fight.”
That was Ilima-Lei MacFarlane explaining how she felt when watching her last fight with Rebecca Ruth at Bellator MMA. For MacFarlane, it was a high point in her continuing journey in MMA.
“It was a combination of a lot of thing. Being on one of the biggest card in Bellator history, having my family there watching, and the biggest reason was my coach Manolo (Hernandez) was in the hospital.”
“The win helped legitimize me in a lot of eyes including my own.”
Hernandez has been there since day one with MacFarlane, who stepped into the San Diego based 10th Planet Freaks gym several years ago. The Hawaiian was fresh out of college and looking to get into shape when she came across the gym, which was near the restaurant she worked at.
“I walked in and I didn’t know who Liz Carmouche was,” McFarlane admitted. “My first class was MMA for beginners with Manolo. I didn’t make it through warm-up. I was dry heaving just from spidermans on the floor. I was so out of shape. Manolo kept encouraging me to come back to class, and I did. After a few months after I shed some weight, he asked if I would be interested in competing.”
MacFarlane would go undefeated as an amateur before heading to the pro circuit, where she has racked up four straight wins, with 3 in the Bellator cage.
MacFarlane’s camp this time around fell with in a few weeks of Liz Carmouche’s fight with Katlyn Chookagian. Carmouche and MacFarlane both trained together along side each other for their respective bouts.
“Our head trainer Bill Crawford said I am amping it up since you are at that level. You should have these high level camps like Liz has been having.”
“On and off the mat, Liz and myself would be doing conditioning together.”
With a win, MacFarlane wouldn’t mind a fight with the newly signed Colleen Schneider in January in Los Angeles.but isn’t looking past Emily Ducote (4-1), who she feels in the best in the Bellator flyweight division at present.
MacFarlane versus Ducote opens up the Bellator 167 card in Oklahoma, which will air on Spike TV Saturday night.