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Bellator 201 results: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane retains flyweight title with third-round armbar

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The belt is staying in Hawaii.

On Friday night at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif., Bellator flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane successfully defended her title against Alejandra Lara. It was a fight that was primarily contested on the ground where Macfarlane got the better of the grappling, threatening with submissions and keeping Lara perpetually on the defensive. Finally, in the third round, Macfarlane was able to lock on an armbar and elicit the tap from Lara despite the challenger’s gutsy defense. After the fight, Macfarlane requested that her next title defense be held in her home state of Hawaii.

In the co-main event, Saad Awad staked his claim for a lightweight title shot with a first-round stoppage of Ryan Couture. Awad hurt his left hand early in the fight but it didn’t matter much as he also hurt Couture near the end of the round and was able to gut through the pain and pour on the shots to earn the stoppage victory. Awad has now one four in a row and afterwards called for a title shot, admonishing current number one contender (and free agent) Michael Chandler for taking his time deciding where to continue his career.

In a pivotal flyweight matchup, Valerie Letourneau and Kristina Williams engaged in a high-paced striking affair that saw the former UFC title challenger edge out a unanimous decision victory. Both women threw hands for the better part of 15 minutes but Letourneau was able to drop Williams in the first round and secure a key takedown in the third round to seal the deal on the scorecards. The win moves Letourneau to 2-0 in Bellator and should set her up for a title fight with Macfarlane somewhere down the line.

In the main card opener, Juan Archuleta remained unbeaten in Bellator, knocking out Robbie Peralta 14 seconds into the third round. In the first two rounds, Archuleta controlled the fight with his superior wrestling but to start the third, Archuleta feinted low and threw and overhand right that put Peralta out, with some perfunctory follow up hammer fists to seal the deal. Archuleta moves to 19-1 in his career and continues keeps his now 15-fight winning streak alive.

On the undercard, Bellator’s bevy of undefeated wrestling prospects picked up wins with Tyrell Fortune, Ed Ruth, and Joey Davis all winning impressively. Fortune improved to 5-0 with a second-round TKO victory over Giovanni Sarran, Ruth stopped Any Murad to move to 6-0, and Joey Davis took a unanimous decision over Craig Plaskett to move to 4-0.

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