Ilima-Lei Macfarlane

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (born April 2, 1990) is an American professional mixed martial artist currently competing in the flyweight division of Bellator MMA.[2] She is the inaugural and former Bellator Women's Flyweight World Champion. As of July 26, 2022, she is #6 in the Bellator Women's pound-for-pound Rankings and #4 in the Bellator Women's Flyweight Rankings.[3]

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane
Born (1990-04-02) April 2, 1990 (age 32)
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Other namesThe Ilimanator
ResidenceSan Diego, California, United States
Height5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Weight125 lb (57 kg; 8.9 st)
Reach66+12 in (169 cm)
Fighting out ofSan Diego, California, United States
TeamSan Diego Combat Academy[1]
RankBrown belt in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu
Years active2014–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout2
By submission6
By decision4
By decision2
UniversitySan Diego State University
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog


In her youth, Macfarlane played basketball, but her aspirations in the sport came to a stop due to series of knee injuries.[1] Macfarlane graduated Punahou School in 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Although she got a scholarship for wrestling to Menlo College, she decided to study Anthropology at San Diego State University from where she earned Bachelor Degree in 2013.[1] After earning her Bachelor Degree in 2013, she continued her education at SDSU to study Master of Arts in Liberal Studies.[4]

During the summer before grad program, she decided to lose some weight she gained in the college and joined a CrossFit gym and Liz Carmouche's MMA gym. She grew affinity for mixed martial arts and continued training at the San Diego Combat Academy.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

In April 2020, Ilima-Lei, her sister Mahina, and one other female who chose to remain anonymous to the public filed a lawsuit against Punahou School for failing to take action over years of alleged sexual abuse from the school's assistant basketball coach, Dwayne Yuen. In the lawsuit, all three allege Yuen of years of sexual abuse, harassment, lewd gestures, and showing young girls several pornographic photos.[5]

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Xplode Fight SeriesEdit

Macfarlane began her amateur MMA career in 2014. She fought five times during that year, mainly with Xplode Fight Series, and went undefeated as an amateur.

Macfarlane's first professional fight was an unsanctioned match against Katie Castro for Xplode Fight Series in 2015. Macfarlane won via technical knockout ten seconds into the bout. In the aftermath of the lopsided affair, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) launched an investigation into the organization's unsanctioned MMA events. Castro had a 0-2 record before fighting Macfarlane and footage of the match was posted on the internet and labeled "Soccer mom loses to MMA fighter". The video went viral, garnering over a million views on YouTube and was discussed on a few television news networks.[6]

Bellator MMAEdit

Following the bout with Castro, Macfarlane signed a three-fight contract with Bellator MMA.[7][1] She made her debut in August 2015 at Bellator 141 where she defeated Maria Rios by split decision.

Macfarlane fought Amber Tackett at Bellator 148 where Macfarlane won by armbar submission in the first round.[8]

Macfarlane's next bout was against Rebecca Ruth at Bellator 157 where she won by standing rear-naked choke in the second round.[9]

Macfarlane would then fight Emily Ducote at Bellator 167 where she was victorious via unanimous decision.[10]

Macfarlane faced Jessica Middleton at Bellator 178 and won by armbar submission in the first round.[11]

Bellator Women's Flyweight World ChampionEdit

Macfarlane and Emily Ducote had a rematch at Bellator 186 for the inaugural Bellator Women's Flyweight World Championship. Macfarlane won the bout with an armbar variation in the fifth round to win her first MMA championship.[12]

Macfarlane faced Alejandra Lara at Bellator 201 for the first defense of her flyweight title. Macfarlane won the fight in the third round via armbar.[13]

Macfarlane faced Valérie Létourneau at Bellator 213 in Macfarlane's hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii. Macfarlane successfully defended her title for a second time, defeating Létourneau by third round submission.[14]

In her third title defense, Macfarlane faced Veta Arteaga at Bellator 220 on April 27, 2019.[15] She won the fight via TKO due to a doctor's stoppage in the third round.[16]

Macfarlane made her fourth title defense against Kate Jackson at Bellator 236 on December 21, 2019.[17] Macfarlane was victorious via unanimous decision.[18]

On February 10, 2020, it was announced that Macfarlane had signed a ten-fight, five-year extension contract with Bellator.[19][20]

Macfarlane attempted her next defense against undefeated challenger Juliana Velasquez on December 10, 2020 at Bellator 254.[21] She lost the fight and her title via unanimous decision.[22]

Post Title ReignEdit

After more then a year off due to knee surgery and rehab,[23] Macfarlane made her return against Justine Kish on April 23, 2022 at Bellator 279.[24] In an upset, she lost the bout via unanimous decision.[25]

Macfarlane faced Bruna Ellen at Bellator 284 on August 12, 2022.[26] At weigh ins, Macfarlane was three pounds over the division non-title fight limit at 129 lbs, resulting in her being a fined a percentage of her purse which went to Ellen and the bout proceeded at catchweight.[27] She won the bout via unanimous decision.[28]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

Combat jiu-jitsuEdit

  • Eddie Bravo Invitational
    • Combat Jiu-Jitsu Women's Flyweight Championship (One time, inaugural)[29]

Mixed martial artsEdit

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
14 matches 12 wins 2 losses
By knockout 2 0
By submission 6 0
By decision 4 2
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 12–2 Bruna Ellen Decision (unanimous) Bellator 284 August 12, 2022 3 5:00 Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States Catchweight (129 lb) bout; Macfarlane missed weight.
Loss 11–2 Justine Kish Decision (unanimous) Bellator 279 April 23, 2022 3 5:00 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Loss 11–1 Juliana Velasquez Decision (unanimous) Bellator 254 December 10, 2020 5 5:00 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States Lost the Bellator Women's Flyweight World Championship.
Win 11–0 Kate Jackson Decision (unanimous) Bellator 236 December 21, 2019 5 5:00 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States Defended the Bellator Women's Flyweight World Championship.
Win 10–0 Veta Arteaga TKO (doctor stoppage) Bellator 220 April 27, 2019 3 1:50 San Jose, California, United States Defended the Bellator Women's Flyweight World Championship.
Win 9–0 Valérie Létourneau Submission (triangle choke) Bellator 213 December 15, 2018 3 3:19 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States Defended the Bellator Women's Flyweight World Championship.
Win 8–0 Alejandra Lara Submission (armbar) Bellator 201 June 29, 2018 3 3:55 Temecula, California, United States Defended the Bellator Women's Flyweight World Championship.
Win 7–0 Emily Ducote Submission (triangle armbar) Bellator 186 November 3, 2017 5 3:42 University Park, Pennsylvania, United States Won the inaugural Bellator Women's Flyweight World Championship.
Win 6–0 Jessica Middleton Submission (armbar) Bellator 178 April 21, 2017 1 2:15 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States
Win 5–0 Emily Ducote Decision (unanimous) Bellator 167 December 3, 2016 3 5:00 Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States
Win 4–0 Rebecca Ruth Submission (standing rear-naked choke) Bellator 157 June 24, 2016 2 3:00 St.Louis, Missouri, United States
Win 3–0 Amber Tackett Submission (armbar) Bellator 148 January 29, 2016 1 2:09 Fresno, California, United States
Win 2–0 Maria Rios Decision (split) Bellator 141 August 28, 2015 3 5:00 Temecula, California, United States
Win 1–0 Katie Castro KO (punches) Xplode Fight Series – Hurricane January 17, 2015 1 0:10 Valley Center, California, United States


Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 5–0 Angela Hancock Submission (armbar) Xplode Fight Series - Wasteland November 8, 2014 3 1:32 Valley Center, California, United States
Win 4–0 LaToya Darby TKO (punches) Xplode Fight Series - Tornado September 20, 2014 1 0:50 Valley Center, California, United States
Win 3–0 Breanna Bland Submission (kimura) Xplode Fight Series - Tidal Wave August 23, 2014 1 1:47 Valley Center, California, United States
Win 2–0 Monique Martinez Decision (split) Archangel Worldwide MMA – Tournament of Truth 2 May 2, 2014 3 2:00 Riverside, California, United States
Win 1–0 Stephanie Houser Submission (rear-naked choke) Xplode Fight Series - Fire March 22, 2014 1 0:46 Valley Center, California, United States

Combat jiu-jitsu recordEdit

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Division Date Notes
Win 2–0   Celine Haga Submission (kimura) EBI 12 Flyweight July 29, 2017 Won the inaugural EBI Women's Flyweight Championship.
Win 1–0   Brooke Mayo Submission (triangle choke)


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Dave Meltzer (April 27, 2019). "After storybook night, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane returns to reality to defend accidental title".
  2. ^ "Ilima-Lei Macfarlane". Tapology.
  3. ^ "Bellator Rankings". Retrieved 2021-06-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Ilima-Lei Macfarlane".
  5. ^ "Ilima-Lei Macfarlane among group of women filing lawsuit against Punahou School". KITV. April 23, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  6. ^ "Video spurs probe into Xplode's unsanctioned MMA events". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  7. ^ "Ilima Macfarlane: 'Soccer mom' KO video not the reason I got a Bellator contract". MMAjunkie. 2015-08-30. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  8. ^ Robinson, Champ. "Tackett hopes to learn from loss". Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  9. ^ Lee, Alexander K. "Ilima-Lei Macfarlane stays undefeated with submission win". Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  10. ^ Wells, Adam (4 December 2016). "Bellator 167 Results: Winners, Scorecards from Caldwell vs. Taimanglo 2 Card". Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  11. ^ MyMMANews. "Ilima-Lei Macfarlane submits Jessica Middleton at Bellator 178". Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  12. ^ Anderson, Jay (3 November 2017). "Bellator 186 Results: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane Submits Ducote, Wins Inaugural Bellator Women's Flyweight Crown". Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  13. ^ Bryan Tucker (June 29, 2018). "Bellator 201 Results: Macfarlane vs. Lara".
  14. ^ "Bellator 213 Results: Macfarlane vs Létourneau". December 15, 2018.
  15. ^ Marc Raimondi (January 23, 2019). "Rory MacDonald vs. Jon Fitch title fight, Bellator grand prix first round slated for April".
  16. ^ Baer, Jack (28 April 2019). "MMA match immediately ends after nasty cut covers fighter's face in blood". Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  17. ^ Nolan King (October 3, 2019). "Ilima Lei-Macfarlane gets opponent for Bellator's December return to Hawaii".
  18. ^ Doyle, Dave (22 December 2019). "Bellator 236 results: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane thrills Hawaiian crowd with win over Kate Jackson". Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  19. ^ Tristen Critchfield (February 10, 2020). "Bellator Re-Signs Champs Douglas Lima, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane to Multi-Year Extensions".
  20. ^ Steven Marrocco (February 10, 2020). "Douglas Lima, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane re-up with Bellator".
  21. ^ MMA Junkie Staff (October 28, 2020). "Ilima-Lei Macfarlane puts title on line vs. Juliana Velasquez at Bellator 254 in December". MMA Junkie. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  22. ^ Steve Juon (December 10, 2020). "Bellator 254 results: Live streaming play-by-play updates | 'Macfarlane vs Velasquez'".
  23. ^ "Ex-Bellator champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane says knee surgery forced her from Kana Watanabe fight". MMA Junkie. 2021-07-16. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  24. ^ "Bellator 278 & 279 to be held in Hawaii, headlined by return of Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Cyborg title defense, and Bantamweight Grand Prix". KHON2. 2022-03-09. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  25. ^ Anderson, Jay (2022-04-24). "Bellator 279: Justine Kish Spoils Return of Ilima-Lei Macfarlane". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2022-04-24.
  26. ^ "Bellator 284 lineup announced, including Neiman Gracie vs. Goiti Yamauchi headliner, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, more". MMA Junkie. 2022-06-15. Retrieved 2022-06-15.
  27. ^ "Bellator 284 weigh-in results: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, two others heavy; one fight canceled". MMA Junkie. 2022-08-11. Retrieved 2022-08-11.
  28. ^ Anderson, Jay (2022-08-12). "Bellator 284: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane Back in Win Column with Split Decision Against Bruna Ellen". Cageside Press. Retrieved 2022-08-13.
  29. ^ Knapp, Brian (31 July 2017). "Erin Blanchfield, Ilima-Lei MacFarlane Crowned Champions at Eddie Bravo Invitational 12". Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  30. ^ a b Mike Bohn (December 22, 2019). "Bellator 236 post-event facts: A.J. McKee's record-book takeover nearly complete".
  31. ^ a b Mike Bohn (December 7, 2020). "Bellator 254 pre-event facts: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane seeks rare fifth title defense".
  32. ^ Fernanda Prates (January 5, 2019). "MMAjunkie's 2018 'Breakout Fighter of the Year': Champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane's refreshing aloha".
  33. ^ "Ilima-Lei MacFarlane - MMA Fighter Profile -".
  34. ^ "Xplode Fight Series - XFS (A2M Entertainment, Inc.) - MMA Promoter Page - Tapology".
  35. ^ "Ilima-Lei Macfarlane - MMA - Awakening Fighters".
  36. ^ "Ilima MacFarlane : Official MMA Fight Record (6-0-0)".
  37. ^ "Xplode Fight Series - Hurricane".
  38. ^ "Xplode Fight Series - Wasteland".
  39. ^ "Xplode Fight Series - Tornado".
  40. ^ "Xplode Fight Series - Tidal Wave".
  41. ^ "Xplode Fight Series - Fire".
  42. ^ "Archangel Worldwide MMA - Tournament of Truth 2".

External linksEdit