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Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Emily Ducote – Bellator 167’s Fight to Watch

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Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Emily Ducote Bellator 167

On Saturday night Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Emily Ducote features as part of Bellator 167’s main card on SPIKE. It is a fight card that has survived and surprised in equal measure.

Despite injuries to Pat Curran and Patricky “Pitbull” Freire nixing two scheduled main events, we are left with a sneaky-good lineup. Chidi Njokuani and Andre Fialho have both thrilled and impressed in their young Bellator careers; Justin Lawrence and John Teixeira are both knocking on the door of Bellator’s top-five at featherweight; and the eventual main event between Darrion Caldwell and Joe Taimanglo is a replay of one of the biggest upsets in MMA history from July.

With those six-fighters for company, all hoping to break out of the chasing pack in their respective divisions, Macfarlane and Ducote are a pair of square pegs fitting snugly into square holes.

Ducote: ‘She definitely is my biggest challenge. She’s a lot more aggressive; she’s got a lot more experience in the cage; she’s well rounded. I wouldn’t say she’s got just striking or just grappling, so I think she’s gonna come in real aggressive like she does and put a lot of pressure.’

Bellator’s flyweight division remains a work in progress. We are yet to see the introduction of a championship belt, something that is expected in 2017. Developing prospects are being given opportunities to impress, while more experienced fighters are starting to make their way onto cards too. Slowly but surely a pecking order at 125 pounds is being established, and right now, Macfarlane and Ducote sit at the top of the Bellator pile.

Five fights between them have produced five wins under Bellator’s promotional banner. Both have stepped into the cage as underdogs and pulled the upset. Ducote made a big right-handed statement in her debut, dropping and then choking out Bruna Vargas when few expected her to win. Macfarlane was priced at around +130 with bookmakers when she faced Rebecca Ruth, in a fight she dominated before submitting her opponent in the second round.

Both have gone into battle carrying the pressure of expectation on their shoulders and come through the other side unscathed too. Ducote’s eye-catching Bellator debut saw her favoured to beat Kenya Miranda, which she did with another second round submission. Macfarlane showed no fatigue from a similar burden when she beat Amber Tackett in little more than two minutes either.

Yet accurately placing the two somewhere in a legitimate flyweight top fifteen is a difficult task. As 2016 comes to a close, the women’s 125 pound landscape has a rough texture. On the surface the best in the division appear to be split between Invicta Fighting Championships and Bellator.

Once you delve beyond the more obvious top layer, you start to realise that many of the best flyweights in the world are in the UFC, forced to choose between fighting as an undersized bantamweight or an oversized strawweight. How will Valerie Letourneau, Katlyn Chookagian and Jessica Andrade — among many others — fare when the UFC eventually adds a flyweight division for women?

Macfarlane: ‘Each fight from here on out, because we’re so early on in our careers, each fight is our biggest fight. I actually think that Ducote is the toughest opponent in the division, and that’s also like stylistically because our styles are very similar.’

For now the Invicta FC flyweight champion, currently Jennifer Maia, will be considered by many to be the number one. That is something that Bellator, and in particular the winner of Macfarlane and Ducote on Saturday night, will look to change.

Both fighters have acknowledged the difficulty attached to their task on Saturday night. Ducote accepting that this is her biggest challenge to date. Macfarlane believes that Ducote is the toughest opponent in the entire division.

None of this is posturing. None of it is said to sell a fight in the middle of a Bellator card, because when you watch the performances of both fighters in their previous Bellator outings you can see that it’s true. There might have been hype attached to Bruna Vargas, Anastasia Yankova and Lena Ovchynnikova, but Macfarlane and Ducote have been the two real standouts in Bellator’s growing flyweight division.

Becoming the top flyweight in the sport is a goal for the future, something both fighters will hope to go on and achieve as the 125 pound waters settle through 2017 and beyond. Becoming Bellator’s top flyweight, that’s something that gets achieved on Saturday night.

Bellator 167 takes place December 3 at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The event is headlined by a bantamweight rematch between Darrion Caldwell and Joe Taimanglo. The Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Emily Ducote bout will be part of the main card which airs like on Spike TV.

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*WATCH* DaveNoseMMA – Is Conor McGregor Pushing his Luck?

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MMA Latest’s Dave Noseworthy looks at why MMA superstar Conor McGregor just might be pushing his luck following his actions at Bellator 187.

Watch Dave talk about the Irishman below:

Do you agree, or disagree with Dave’s opinion? Let us know below!

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Exclusive: Jalin Turner vs Noah Tillis set for Bellator LA in January

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Bellator LA: Douglas Lima vs Rory MacDonald, has just had another entertaining fight added as two talented prospects Jalin Turner and Noah Tillis are set to meet in a lightweight bout. Sources close to the fight confirmed the news to MMA Latest earlier this morning.

Jalin “The Tarantula” Turner makes his return to the Bellator cage for the first time since January 2017, where he defeated Gabriel Green by knockout, in an exciting fight that only lasted 36 seconds. Since the fight, Turner has gone 2-1 where he defeated Paradise Vaovasa by KO, at Tachi PF 31, before dropping his next fight to Richard LeRoy by TKO, at CFX 8. Turner bounced back from the loss by beating Vytautas Sadauskas by submission, at KOTC: Never Quit, back in September.

Noah Tillis is currently coming off of a 9-second submission victory against Jeff Carson, at Gladiator Challenge: American Pride, back in July. The “Submission Magician” has amassed a professional record of 3-2 with three victories coming by submission, DQ, and a TKO due to injury. His two losses coming by way of TKO and decision.

It is unclear where the fight will be featured, but it is assumed it will take place on the undercard. The potential brawl represents a stiff challenge for either man, as well as an opportunity to make some noise in an always deep lightweight division.

The only other fight currently announced on the card is the main event between current Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima and former UFC title challenger, Rory MacDonald. Bellator LA: Lima vs MacDonald is set to take place on Saturday, January 20th, in Los Angeles, Calfornia, at the Forum.

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Anthony “PrettyBoy” Taylor wants to knockout Trey Branch then fight Brian Moore in Bellator on St. Patricks Day

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Going from postlim fights in Bellator to a co-main event and then a main card fight after with such little professional experience isn’t something you’d hear of very often in the slightest. In this case Anthony “PrettyBoy” Taylor is the exception, who in only his third professional fight went to Ireland as part of the co-main event for a fight with James Gallagher. Taylor became well known to many in the build-up to that fight for being so outspoken and quite an entertainer, something he carries with him to the cage.

Anthony Taylor now has himself a fight lined up in a regional show near his home in California at California Fighting Championships. This will be his first time fighting back in America since May 2016. His last two bouts were in Europe as part of Bellator’s expansion into Europe. Following two losses he now hopes to get back in the win column in front of a home crowd. Taking this fight as a tune off fight Anthony is confident he won’t be touched by his opponent Trey Branch.

“Well, I’m taking this fight because Bellator said I’ll be fighting next year for overseas and it will be a good tune off fight for me. I think of trey like any other fighter. Just a guy who’s not going to touch me nor beat me.”

His opponent Trey Branch is jumping up from flyweight for this fight, Anthony believes he’s going to dominate his opponent and knock him out with ease. Now having 3 career losses coming via submission, he is not worried about his ground game, guaranteeing it was improved from training with some of the top fighters in Bellator.

“I believe I’m going to overpower him and KO him. He’s coming up from 125lb to fight me which I stated to the world on Bellator that I’m the strongest 45er in the world!! And as far as my ground game, it’d be covered and it’s great. Thanks to AJ McKee, Baby Slice, Joey Davis and Aaron Pico. My ground game is great and up there to the level, as there’s”

Looking ahead to next year when he competes in Bellator again, Taylor has his eyes set on a big fight in a return to Irish soil.

“Well Bellator loves me and I proved them that I belong there. I haven’t been told when I was fighting but I hope it’s back in Ireland, and maybe on St. Patricks day and hopefully I’ll fight Brian Moore because me and him been wanting to fight the longest.”

As a training partner for AJ McKee, Taylor was very pleased with how the fight went down, claiming it was a simple enough fight for his teammate that apparently didn’t train much for the fight. Suffering a loss on the initial trip to the emerald isle, “PrettyBoy” wants to come back and take home a win next time around.

“Oh man it was an easy fight for AJ, he only trained 2 weeks for that Brian Moore fight” he laughs “but absolutely it would be a great show if I was also on the show me and James alone still holds the record of views internationally and I’m looking to come back and taking what’s mines which is that W”

The win against Brian Moore could now potentially line up a fight between McKee and James Gallagher, fight fans have long sought after. Having fought against James and training with McKee on the regular Taylor isn’t convinced that Gallagher is ready for the AJ just yet. He also had some words about SBG fighters who were calling out Baby Slice.

“James is not ready for AJ. And people calling out slice since he’s new in the game. Why are sbg guys not calling out Joey Davis?? They are all talk and think that they’re better than everyone.”

With a win on Saturday, Anthony Taylor thinks it will kick him off to a series of consecutive wins that could ultimately land him in a fight with Emmanuel Sanchez.

“Yes it will start off (Saturday) and I believe it will set me up tremendously. I’m only getting better and I plan on winning fights in Bellator and then taking out Emanuel Sanchez. I do not like him, I hate him”

“I don’t like his style and he’s always hating on my teammates so I want his head” he added

Away from the fight scene, Anthony is pleased with the life that he’s got set up for himself with his newfound love since joining Bellator as he now aims to break into the movie industry too.

“Man it’s been great I now have a wonderful woman in my life so I’m happy. I’m acting too, trying to get into the movies industry and God has blessed me which so much love”

You can follow Anthony Taylor on all his social media accounts to keep an eye out for all his upcoming fight information and results.

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