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    Bellator 300: Liz Carmouche TKOs Ilima-Lei Macfarlane
    • October 8, 2023

    SAN DIEGO — A scheduled Flyweight championship bout between Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and Liz Carmouche fell through after Macfarlane failed to make weight before Saturday’s Bellator 300 event at Pechanga Arena.

    The fight was instead fought as a Catchweight bout, and Carmouche’s belt was not on the line.

    Not that it would’ve mattered. Carmouche prevailed by TKO in the fifth round after injuring Macfarlane’s knee.

    The fight between two women with San Diego ties was one of three of Saturday’s main-event mixed martial arts bouts. The event also included a 13-fight undercard.

    Macfarlane, a San Diego State graduate who hails from Honolulu, weighed in at 126.6 pounds on Friday — above the 125-pound weight limit. As a result, Carmouche’s Flyweight belt was not on the line.

    The two longtime training partners nonetheless engaged in a scrappy fight that turned in the third round when Carmouche caught Macfarlane with a nasty right kick to the left knee area.

    Macfarlane, who had a slight edge after the first two rounds, briefly went down from that kick and did so again later in the third when Carmouche caught her in the same area.

    Macfarlane gamely fought on, but struggled to put weight on the injured leg the remainder of the fight.

    Carmouche continued to target Macfarlane’s left knee in the fourth round, dropping her twice again while consistently staying out of Macfarlane’s punching range with good footwork and an occasional jab.

    Carmouche, who goes by the nickname “The Girl-Rilla” ended the fight early in the fifth with yet another hard right kick to Macfarlane’s injured knee and was awarded the victory via TKO.

    Macfarlane left the ring on a cart and immediately received medical attention in the dressing area.

    Carmouche, who lives in San Diego and trains out of The Arena MMA, earned her seventh consecutive victory and improved to 20-7. Macfarlane, a former Flyweight champion, fell to 13-3.

    “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult,” Carmouche said. “She’s a friend and it was really hard. There’s several friends I’d much rather get into the ring against. She has helped Bellator so much. If it wasn’t for Ilima, I wouldn’t be here. None of us would be here. So, hats off to Ilima. She showed heart and didn’t stop.”

    Macfarlane’s failure to make weight put a further damper on an event that originally was scheduled to feature four title fights.

    Linton Vassell was forced to back out of his scheduled Heavyweight title fight with division champ Ryan Bader last week due to an undisclosed illness.

    The night’s two main events saw Cris Cyborg retain her Featherweight title with a first-round TKO of Cat Zingano, who lives and trains out of San Diego. Usman Nurmagomedov successfully defend his Lightweight title with a win via fifth-round decision over Brent Primus.

    Bishop remains undefeated

    Jena Bishop, who lives and trains out of San Diego, improved to 6-0 (3-0 in Bellator series) with an impressive first-round victory via armbar submission over Ilara Joanne (11-8) in front of a slew of cheering friends and family.

    Bishop (Alliance Jiu Jitsu San Diego) entered the event as the 80th ranked Flyweight worldwide and 18th in the United States. Three of her victories have come via submission and it was her first such victory since joining Bellator.

    “I knew she was tough, so I was just happy to get my first win with a submission in Bellator,” Bishop said. “It was fought at a super fast pace and I just wanted to be the aggressor right from the start, really put the pressure on and it worked out.”

    Bishop said she’s ready for her night fight as soon as possible.

    “I’ll take on anyone they put in front of me,” Bishop said. “Just whatever comes along. I’ll continue to train hard and be ready.”


    Alberto Garcia (Escondido Fight Club) lost a tough three-round Bantamweight bout to the favored Bobby Seronio III and Herman Terrado (San Diego’s Und1sputed Boxing and MMA) was defeated in three rounds by Mukhamed Berkhamov in a Middleweight bout.

    ​ Orange County Register