There's a good chance Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and Valérie Létourneau will fight each other for Bellator gold someday. But before that can happen, both ladies need to win on June 29 at Bellator 201 in Temecula, Calif. Scott Coker has booked both women for a massive show on the West Coast, in a showcase to hype up what could be the promotion's biggest rivalry heading into 2019.
Macfarlane, the promotion's reigning flyweight champ, makes her first title defense against Alejandra "Azul" Lara. The 27-year-old Hawaiian champ has rattled off seven-straight wins since turning pro in 2015, and she is arguably Bellator's biggest draw heading into the summer. Macfarlane won the inaugural flyweight title with a stoppage of Emily Ducote last November.
At Bellator 201, she gets her first opportunity to headline a Bellator show -- and she'll get to do it in front of her "hometown" crowd. While Macfarlane is undeniably Hawaiian, she lives and trains in California -- not far from the host venue for Bellator 201. With a win over Lara, there will be little doubt that her next scrap should be opposite Létourneau.
As for the 34-year-old Canadian, it's no surprise that Bellator booked her on the same card as the reigning champ. A former UFC title challenger, the ATT-trained talent looks to improve to 2-0 inside the Bellator cage, as she takes on the battle-tested veteran Bruna Ellen (4-1). No other bouts have been made official for the card.
More fights are expected to be announced in the days and weeks ahead. Bellator 201 airs live on the Paramount Network.