Fights to make in Bellator’s flyweight division

Bellator’s Women’s Flyweight division has a ton of young talent. Champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is at the top of Bellator’s Flyweight mountain looking down. With so much talent in the division where does Bellator go next? These are four fights Bellator should make in the coming months.

Illima-Lei Macfarlane versus Ariane Lipski OR Valerie Letourneau  

Inaugural Bellator Women’s Flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (7-0) has yet to defend the strap she won in November. Although it has been just four months since the win over Emily Ducote, it is time to start thinking about her first title defense. Bellator has options. They can bring in KSW champion Ariane Lipski (11-3) and put her in the championship fight. If Bellator does this – Macfarlane-Lipski is a champion-versus-champion match-up fans would get behind.

If the promotion can’t get Lipski, a fight with former UFC Strawweight title contender Valerie Letourneau (9-6) could be a possibility. Letourneau won her Bellator debut in December against Kate Jackson. Letourneau makes a good first title defense for Macfarlane considering the MMA experience she has and the experience the champion lacks. This fight would not be an easy one for either fighter but a good MMA match-up it would be.

Anastasia Yankova versus Emily Ducote 

 With an undefeated record, Anastasia Yankova (5-0) needs to be tested at the 125 lb. weight limit. In her 3 Bellator fights a catchweight has had to be agreed upon because she couldn’t make weight. Yankova desperately needs to make weight and have a good showing as a Flyweight – not a catchweight fighter. Yankova is just one or two good showings away from a shot at the Flyweight title.

While Yankova hasn’t fought since April of last year, Emily Ducote (6-4) has been incredibly active – having fought in 5 fights in 2016 and 4 in 2017. Ducote is on a 2 fight losing streak and if she wants to stay relevant in Bellator’s Flyweight division she needs a win. A fight with Yankova might be favorable for Ducote just for the fact that she’s so active. Yankova has a ton of talent but hasn’t shown her entire skill set put together in one fight. Ducote is a former title contender whom like Yankova has a ton of talent. Yankova versus Ducote would be a great test for both – Bellator should make this fight.

Alejandra Lara versus Kristina Williams 

At just 23, Alejandra Lara (7-1) is one of Bellator’s best female prospects. Lara is a star in the making. In her Bellator debut she choked out Lena Ovchynnikova in the 3rd round in a fight that her opponent was heavily favored. Bellator needs to put Lara in a fight against another rising star. Kristina Williams fits perfectly.

Kristina Williams (2-0) wasn’t supposed to win her Bellator debut when she fought Heather Hardy. She finished Hardy in the second round. Williams wasn’t supposed to beat Emily Ducote, yet she beat her too. Kristina Williams is game for a fight as is Alejandra Lara. This is a fight Bellator should make to see which one of their rising stars keeps on climbing up the Flyweight rankings.

Heather Hardy versus Bruna Ellen 

Heather Hardy (2-1) is a world champion boxer turned MMA fighter. In 3 fights, Hardy has won 2 and lost 1. Bellator has a star in Heather Hardy, they just need to keep pushing her. As her MMA career progresses, so do her rock star qualities. Due to her boxing background, Hardy’s stand-up is on point. In her last fight against Ana Julaton, her ground game finally came to fruition. This is the Heather Hardy Bellator and fans of MMA want.

Like Heather Hardy, Bruna Ellen (4-1) is a on track to move up Bellator’s Flyweight rankings. With wins in her last two fights Ellen has proven she is a game fighter. Heather Hardy is also a game fighter. A fight between the two would be good for Bellator and the division.

Fight fans, what matches would you like to see in the Bellator flyweight division?



  1. I disagree with some of these. for starters, Yankova in my honest opinion is a bantamweight and there is no point booking her at 125. I doubt she will make it, much less do so on anything resembling a consistent basis. if they don’t open up a 135 division they should release her to fight in LFA. my fights to make:

    – Ariane Lipski vs Valerie Letourneau – title eliminator

    – Emily Ducote vs Kate Jackson – should be a nice grappling heavy fight. a smotherer (Jackson) vs a submission threat (Ducote).

    – the last two matchups are fine in my opinion.

    1. And I disagree on Yankova, Mr. Glass. If her reported height of 5’5″ is correct, she is probably too small to be a highly competitive BW. Admittedly, 5’5″ Shevchenko did quite well at 135 , but I don’t think Yankova is near her skill level. If Shevchenko and numerous other taller Flyweights can make 125 w/o much trouble, so should Yankova if she’s serious about her MMA career. However Dacote is a small FW and in need of a victory. I would rather see Yankova matched up against Valerie Letourneau, an even bigger FW.

      In the meantime, a title fight against Ilima should be a good incentive to bring Ariane Lipski on over.

      1. JR Yuen, weight classes are not dictated by height. otherwise Tyron Woodley would be a bantamweight as Max Holloway is taller than him. heck, Max beat to dust a 6’4″ Will Chope at 145 some years ago. Yankova can be 5′ nothing or 6′, if she could make 125 consistently she is a 125er, but that isn’t the case. they’re called weight classes for a reason, body mass, BMI etc. Yankova has already proven she is not a 125er, otherwise she might have made the weight by now. until she makes 125 she is a bantamweight.

        as for matching her with Valerie, bad idea, she’d have maybe a strength advantage, but be outclassed big time in every way. the idea with Yankova (Bellator’s idea anyway) is to give her wins and promote her. Emily is the perfect opponent as she relies on her power wrestling and is alot smaller so her main method should fail her since imo Emily is really a strawweight. even Ilima is a small 25er.

        1. Sorry Mr. Glass, I should have elaborated more on my reply. Weight classes are definitely not solely dictated by height or else we would have height limitations. If Yankova had the mass of say, Liz Carmouche, who actually did make 125, I probably would have let it slide, but Yankova is not an overly muscular fighter. I sincerely believe with a good weight loss coach and sufficient self-discipline, she could make 125 w/o much trouble.

          I know emotions shouldn’t enter the picture, but I would hate to see Emily take another loss against a bigger fighter and be asked to leave the way the UFC booted Seo Hee Ham despite always putting on great fights.

          1. perhaps she can. I think Bellator should even help out with finding her a good nutritionist. as for Emily, I think she’d do well to go seek out a contract with Invicta. they have a 115 division and it’s usually a fast track to the UFC if you do well.

        2. You might find this interview with Yankova which, among other things, specifically addressed a medical condition that contributed towards her previous weight issues. Hopefully, they are a thing of the past.

          Although it ha nothing to do with her fighting ability, she impressed me with how articulate she was. Not sure if an interpreter was involved or whether her comments were edited, but If not, her command of English is excellent.

          1. Thank you for posting that! I missed that one and it was a great interview. I am a big Yankova fan and am excited to see her back. IMO, she has been looking leaner in between camps (at least from social media) than in the past.

          2. this is unfortunate. many fighters develop thyroid problems from cutting weight and it prevents them from being able to do it safely or at all. for example, Jorge Masvidal went from 155 to 170 for this reason. Miesha Tate has also said her last several weight cuts were near death experience due to thyroid issues and if she ever came back it would be at 145 pounds. I have told fellow fans many times, these weight cuts are not free, and the amount of weight MMA fighters cut is huge compared to virtually every other competition that has weight cutting. and the rapid losing and gaining is the real problem. hopefully this is sorted out for her.

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