Bellator 201 “Macfarlane vs. Lara” took place last night (Fri., June 29, 2018) at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. The women’s Flyweight title was on the line in the main event as the submission wizardry of Hawaiian champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (7-0) faced the exciting and flashy striking of Colombian sensation Alejandra Lara (7-1). BJ Penn was on hand to watch Macfarlane work.
The Prodigy @bjpenndotcom cageside tonight at #Bellator201 pic.twitter.com/VDiHP6fBLo— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) June 30, 2018
Macfarlane was looking for takedowns right away but it was Lara who wound up on top in Round 1, although that played into the BJJ brown belt’s game as she went for triangles and armbars off her back. Lara regained control late and landed some left hands on the ground and a few knees when they stood up. Since Macfarlane came closer to finishing with her ground game the round narrowly edged her way.
Macfarlane executed a textbook throw in the second round to once again work her BJJ ground game, landing elbows to Lara’s head in the process and finishing the frame almost in position for a rear-naked choke. She was starting to build up a lead heading toward the “championship rounds.”
Time to take a ride! @ilimanator #Bellator201 pic.twitter.com/rndM0k9xXT— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) June 30, 2018
The fourth and fifth wouldn’t be necessary though. Macfarlane dragged Lara to the ground a minute into the third round, got a hook in, started to flatten Lara out and took the full mount when Lara rolled underneath her. She did some damage on top before going for the armbar, and although Lara survived in it for a long time she finally tapped out at 3:55.
“Yes, the entire time I thought I wasn’t going to get it. She’s double jointed, she’s not going to tap to anything, but I finally got it. Dude she’s amazing. Awesome job. Even though I was in some precarious situations all I could hear was my corner. All I did was listen to them. They called out every single move. That’s where my maturity is, my team right here. I 100% agree with (Letourneau) she deserves this next shot, but I have one small request, let’s do this in my hometown, I want a Bellator Hawaii.”
With a win like that and BJ Penn in the crowd watching she just might get her wish.
In addition Flyweight contenders Valerie Letourneau (9-6) and Kristina Williams (2-0) were paired off against each other to see who could move one step closer to fighting the winner of the main event.
The tale of the tape: LETOURNEAU vs. WILLIAMS pic.twitter.com/0wHgohMhAH— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) June 30, 2018
Williams tried to gain the advantage early by circling on the outside and using her length and her kicks. That was working fairly well as she even knocked Letourneau off balance at once point, forcing her to scoot to the cage. Williams will regret not chasing her to the ground because she got cracked with a right hand shot that put her on the canvas and gave Letourneau the round.
BIG knockdown by @ValTroubleMMA! #Bellator201 pic.twitter.com/kctcXbbx8k— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) June 30, 2018
Williams found her footing figuratively and literally in Round 2, using her range to fend off Letourneau, then landing the right elbow whenever Letourneau would try to shorten the distance between them. It was a very close round but arguably edged Williams way on the strength of her striking.
The first 20 seconds of round three were some of the most exciting action of the night as the flyweights did their version of “f—k it let’s bang bro” and swung away as the crowd roared. Letourneau settled things down by getting a takedown at 58 seconds in and stayed just busy enough to not get stood up until 70 seconds were left, getting another takedown late to ice the round.
That third round made the difference. Letourneau won 29-28 X3 before speaking to John McCarthy.
“I’m happy. I was hoping to save my face for this battle. She’s a dangerous fighter I have to respect the skills she has. You know she’s a young fighter she’s gonna improve so quick. Look I’m just happy I got the win tonight. I actually changed my mind on my game plan this week so yeah I’m glad I did. I’m really comfortable on the ground. I love to punch though I hope people know I just like it. I’ve been waiting seven months for this fricking fight, please give me that (title) shot.”
Afterward Julia Budd was interviewed about her upcoming title defense at WinStar World Casino and Resort on July 13th.
“I think it’s just my overall skills. I’m a complete mixed martial artist. I work on my stand up, my grappling, my wrestling everything, I’m well rounded. My Bellator debut was supposed to be against Talita (Nogueira), it was too bad she injured her knee, but everything happens for a reason and now I’m ready. I’m a world champion at mixed martial arts. I train with black belts, amazing kickboxers, so I just keep doing what I’m doing but even better.”
Lightweights dueled it out at Bellator 201 as the streaking Saad Awad (22-9) looked to extend his win streak to four while Ryan Couture (11-5) tried to pick up another win after almost a year off.
Awad found a home for his right head kick early, but Couture kept coming forward. That insistence on coming forward did not pay dividends as Awad was more than willing to let his hands go. Couture tried to clinch up against the fence to no avail, and late in round one Awad landed a big right hand that made Couture start to wobble. He tried to cover up against the cage as Awad poured it on but finally dropped to one knee at 4:29 and Jason Herzog ended the fight for Awad by TKO.
Just vicious! @SAADMMA #Bellator201 pic.twitter.com/pNKOLZGry7— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) June 30, 2018
“Big” John McCarthy stepped in for the post fight interview with “The Assassin.”
“I caught him on the top of the head two minutes into the fight. I think I broke my thumb. Yeah he’s tough. Very tough. He landed some good shots. My lip’s busted, my leg’s hurting. I only got one thing on my mind. I don’t know who else deserves a title shot but me. Primus, get healthy. Chandler, make up your mind on what you’re going to do. The longer I take to get a title shot the better I’m gonna get so I ain’t even tripping.”
In his last best chance to turn things around since being bounced out of both UFC and World Series of Fighting, “Problems” Robbie Peralta (19-8, 1 NC) faced “The Spaniard” Juan Archuleta (19-1) and his double digit win streak.
The tale of the tape: ARCHULETA vs. PERALTA pic.twitter.com/PDHwEa8Rps— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) June 30, 2018
Archuleta threw everything and the kitchen sink at Peralta in round one, landing several jumping knees, several takedowns, and a ton of jabs and hooks. It was a clear 10-9 for Archuleta but Peralta was taking the punishment and dishing out a little of his own.
These guys aren't wasting a single second! #Bellator201@jarchmma vs. @PeraltaMMA pic.twitter.com/Jy6Xczb9Ni— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) June 30, 2018
The second frame was much closer as Peralta was able to stuff a majority of takedowns until a few seconds left. Still the fighter who would be awarded “aggression and cage control” would definitely be Archuleta, who got the better of each exchange and keep dishing out the jumping knee.
The end came suddenly and violently in the final round as Archuleta faked Peralta out by dipping low as he charged forward, then coming upward with an overhand right to the chin that landed flush. Peralta dropped immediately and Mark Smith stopped the fight at 0:14.
Archuleta spoke to “Big” John McCarthy after adding +1 to his already lengthy streak.
“Man that’s just a beautiful team I have behind me. Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, TJ Dillashaw, Duane Ludwig, Cub Swanson, I’m a hybrid of their teaching and I appreciate it. They spend more time with me than my own family. It’s just game plan. Joe Daddy’s game plan, there’s no one else in the world, with them and TJ, there’s nobody that’s gonna touch me. I’m truly blessed every day waking up and seeing my beautiful family. It was emotional before I came here because my daughter had a seizure, but my corner made me feel calm and collected, they told me don’t be in a rush to end it.”
For complete Bellator 201 results and coverage click here.