Inaugural Bellator women’s flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane finally met her match in Juliana Velasquez in the main event of Bellator 254 in Uncasville, Conn.
Velasquez (12-0-0), came into the fight undefeated in 11 bouts and used her striking and takedown defence to take a 48-47, 49-46, and 48-47 unanimous decision to become the second women’s flyweight champion in the company’s history.
Despite repeated attempts, Macfarlane (10-1-0) could not get the fight to the ground until the second round, and it was Velasquez who ended up on top. The challenger kept the champion at bay with kicks and strikes.
Velasquez landed a jumping knee on Macfarlane, who was shooting in for a takedown at the end of the third round.
Macfarlane landed her best takedown in the fourth round and inflicted her heaviest damage to the body and head of Velasquez. But it wasn’t enough to improve her position for a possible submission.
Velasquez enjoyed a height and reach advantage in the fight and it was visible in the stand-up portions of the fight.
Macfarlane, who won the belt on Nov. 3, 2017 and defended it four times until before Thursday night, congratulated the champion after the contest.
Bellator 254 aired on the CBS Sports Network.
In other bouts:
JULIANNA VELASQUEZ DEF. ILIMA-LEI MACFARLANE VIA UD (48-47, 49-46, 48-47)
MAGOMED MAAGOMEDOV DEF. MATHEUS MATTOS VIA UD (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
LINTON VASSELL DEF. RONNY MARKES VIA TKO (PUNCHES) R2 3:37
ROMERO COTTON DEF. JUSTIN SUMTER VIA SUBMISSION (RNC) R1 3:36
SHAMIL NIKAEV DEF. KEMRAN LACHINOV VIA UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
GRANT NEAL DEF. MAURICE JACKSON VIA SUBMISSON (RNC) R2 3:59
CODY LAW DEF. KENNY CHAMPION VIA TKO (PUNCHES AND ELBOWS) R3 4:44
BILLY GOFF DEF. ROBSON GRACIE JR. VIA TKO (PUNCHES AND ELBOWS) R2 1:46