The women’s flyweight division is hands down one of the hottest and fastest growing divisions in MMA right now.
Across numerous promotions, flyweight fighters are stars in the making. New champions, crafty veterans, and exciting prospects are tipping the scales at 126-pounds for their chance to make history.
In Bellator, on the heels of her fifth career submission victory, undefeated champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is leading the way. Trailing behind the Hawaiian champion is a mix of talented fighters, each with diverse and unique skill sets.
Currently, Bellator does not have a official ranking system— so WMMA Rankings is taking on the challenge of rankings Bellator’s flyweight division!
C. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (8-0)
Arguably Bellator’s brightest homegrown star, Ilima-Lei successfully defended her flyweight title for the first time since winning the belt eight months ago. The victory marked her third consecutive arm bar win and her first time headlining a card.
1. Valerie Letourneau (10-6)
The former UFC title challenger cemented herself as a future Bellator title challenger with her 201 victory over Kristina Williams. “Trouble” is a veteran of the sport and has fought some of WMMA’s biggest names. At 35-years-old, Letourneau is still constantly improving.
2. Juliana Velasquez (7-0)
Velasquez’s rise in Bellator has been somewhat quiet as she’s appeared on the undercard twice. She is 2-0 in the promotion, with one victory by submission over Na Laing and one victory by knockout over a Rebecca a Ruth. She is undefeated as an amateur and as a pro.
3. Alejandra Lara (7-2)
Unsuccessful in capturing the belt at Bellator 201, “Azul” has nothing to be ashamed of. Sky is the limit for the durable 23-year-old who showed some serious flexibility and grappling prowess versus Macfarlane.
4. Kate Jackson (10-3-1)
Britain’s Jackson bounced back from a loss to Letourneau with a dominant performance over Anastasia Yankova. One of the more experienced woman in the division, Jackson has a rounded skill set that makes for a tough out for any opponent.
5. Kristina Williams (2-1)
With only three pro fights, it’s hard to exactly place the “Warhorse” in the division. In all three of her appearances, including her first career loss to Letourneau, Williams has showed some serious striking skills. With strong killer instinct and aggressive striking her potential is limitless. Most telling will be to see how she bounces back after Bellator 201.
6. Lena Ovchynnikova (12-5)
Though much of Ovchynnikova’s success has come against lesser known fighters, Lena has shown legitimate skill in both the striking and grappling departments. 9 of her 12 wins are finishes and she is 2-2 in the promotion and in December, she had a two-fight unbeaten streak snapped by Lara. There are a lot of interesting matchups in a division full of hungry up-and-comers.
7. Anastasia Yankova (5-1)
Russia’s Yankova went 3-0 in Bellator before running into Kate Jackson at Bellator 200, suffering her first MMA defeat. She is an aggressive, grueling striker who doesn’t shy away from grappling. With a thyroid issue that interfered with weight cuts now under control, all eyes will be on Yankova when she returns to the cage to see how she bounces back.
8. Bruna Ellen (4-1)
An injury forced Ellen out of a high-profile opportunity opposite Letourneau, but the 22-year-old from Brazil is hoping to get back in the cage sooner rather than later. She is 2-1 in Bellator and has shown a well-rounded skill set so far.She has yet to fight in 2018 but when she returns she will look to extend her win streak to three.
9. Veta Arteaga (4-2)
Arteaga may not have the most technical offense in the game but she has proven to be effective. She is a gritty fighter who moves forward and keeps a good pace that often frustrates her opponents. All but one of her pro fights have been fought in Bellator, and with her most recent win being a UD over Emily Ducote she is in prime position to continue to climb the ranks.
10. Emily Ducote (6-5)
The former title contender has fallen on tough times, currently riding a three-fight skid. She is a longtime member of the Bellator roster— behind only the champion with the second most promotional appearances. At 24-years-old, Ducote has the time and potential to turn things around and make a march toward the top.
11. Colleen Schneider (11-8)
The Invicta vet has appeared twice in Bellator— going 1-1 in the promotion. Unfortunley, her bout versus Kate Jackson was stopped after the first round in August of 2017 due to a gnarly knee injury and she has not fought since.
12. Denise Kielholtz (2-1)
The Dutch fighter is a Bellator Kickboxing champion a season well as a mixed martial artist. She holds a 47-3 kickboxing record and translates those skills to her MMA fights. Kielholtz made her MMA debut in 2015 losing via arm bar. She stepped away for MMA for two years and returned in 2017, submitting Jessica Middleton via scarf hold arm lock. She followed that up in 2018 with a UD over newcomer Petra Castkova and will look to continue to add to that.
13. Heather Hardy (2-1)
The undefeated boxing champion made her MMA debut in summer of 2017 and instantly garnered media attention for her relentless toughness and charming wit. She ran into a brick wall and brutal beating against Williams but showed that she can overcome adversity by following up with a victory over Ana Julaton four months later. “The Heat” has only three MMA fights and competes in both MMA and boxing.
14. Kristi Lopez (2-0-1)
We unfortunately haven’t gotten to see much of Kings MMA’s Kristi Lopez just yet. In her Bellator debut, she fought Jessica Sotack to a draw. She was scheduled to fight again at 201 against Paola Ramirez, however, the bout was cancelled when Ramirez missed weight by almost a full weight class.
15. Brooke Mayo (0-2)
After a 5-1 amateur career, Mayo has been somewhat unlucky in her pro run. In her debut vs Veta, the doctor stepped in and stopped the fight with less than one minute remaining due to eye swelling, resulting in a TKO loss. She dropped her next fight vs Kaitlyn Neil via decision in September of last year and hasn’t fought since.
*Rankings were compiled of fighters currently listed on Bellator’s official flyweight roster at Bellator.com
*Sabriye Sengul (0-0): yet to debut
*Keri Melendez (2-0): listed as a flyweight in Bellator but has only competed at strawweight in MMA
*Rebecca Ruth (6-3): no longer listed on Bellator’ s roster
What do your Bellator flyweight rankings look like?