At Bellator 254: “Macfarlane vs. Velasquez” on Dec. 10, 2020, in Uncasville, Conn., two undefeated Flyweights met in the Bellator cage — Juliana Velasquez (10-0) and champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-0). Only one of them would remain undefeated after the main event.
Through the course of five rounds, the judo practitioner, Velasquez, proved to have more dominant stand up striking than the submission specialist Macfarlane. Perhaps that seems obvious in hindsight, but Macfarlane had always found a way to bring bigger opponents and better strikers down to the mat and tap them out ... until that fateful Thursday night.
For perspective, let’s take a look back at one of the earliest fights of new champion Juliana Velasquez’ run in Bellator MMA. She faced the tough as nails Flyweight striker Rebecca Ruth at Bellator 197 on April 13, 2018, just after Ruth had her own title shot at Macfarlane. “Big” John McCarthy and Mauro Ranallo enjoy the “striking panache” of this contest, particularly the stunning body kick knockout that finished it in round three.
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