Bellator have moved to tie down two of their brightest talents. The American-based fight promotion has penned new contracts with welterweight champion Douglas Lima and flyweight queen Ilima-Lei Macfarlane. On Monday the organisation released the following press release announcing the news and praising the fighters, it read.
“Both Douglas Lima and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane continue to prove they are two of the most dominant fighters on the Bellator roster,” Bellator president Scott Coker said in a statement. “They made their Bellator debuts very early on in their careers, have climbed to the top of their respective divisions and have come to represent what this promotion is all about. As champions, both have taken on all challenges and have succeeded in every opportunity. I look forward to watching them continue their careers with us.”
Douglas Lima enjoyed the best year of his career in 2019. The 32-year-old won the welterweight grand prix and the 170lb title in the process. After beating Andrey Koreshkov by submission in the first round, he spectacularly knocked out Michael Page in the semi-finals. In the tournaments final he avenged his 2018 loss to Rory MacDonald, beating the Canadian over five rounds. Now we await his first title defence, after re-upping with Bellator you can only assume that announcement is not too far away.
The undefeated Hawaiian become the inaugural women’s flyweight champion in 2017. She beat Emily Ducote to capture the title at Bellator 167 and began one of the most dominant reigns in the sport. Last time out Macfarlane beat Kate Jackson over five rounds in December 2019. She’ll now be on the lookout for fresh challengers after basically wiping out an entire division.
Should champions like Douglas Lima and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane look to test themselves in the UFC or remain loyal to organisations such as Bellator?