The UFC is in the process of crowning the company’s first-ever women’s flyweight champion through a tournament on the current season of The Ultimate Fighter, which leads to December’s finale.
But it won’t be the first major North American promotion to crown a women’s 125-champion. Bellator will beat UFC to the punch, as it will mark its inaugural flyweight titleholder on Nov. 3.
Ilima MacFarlane will meet Emily Ducote to crown a champion at Bellator 186 in State College, Penn. MMA Fighting confirmed an initial Tuesday report by ESPN.
MacFarlane (6-0), of the San Diego Combat Academy, first gained notoriety for a controversial knockout of “soccer mom” Katie Castro in her 2015 pro debut. Since then, she’s proven anything but a gimmick fighter, having rattled off five straight victories in Bellator. Her most recent performance was a second-round armbar finish of Jessica Middleton at Bellator 178.
Ducote (6-2), meanwhile, has put together an impressive run of her own. The Oklahoma City native has won two straight and is 4-1 in Bellator. The lone setback was a unanimous decision loss to MacFarlane at Bellator 167.