A major promotion is returning to the state of Hawaii in a big way.
Bellator announced Wednesday that Hawaiian fighter Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will defend her women’s flyweight title against Valerie Letourneau on Saturday, Dec. 15, at Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, the promotion’s first show in the state.
The event will air exclusively on DAZN. Honolulu television station KHON first reported the news of the main event.
The co-main event will feature the debut of former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who will face former middleweight champ Rafael Carvalho.
In addition, Ed Ruth will battle Neiman Gracie in a welterweight grand prix bout.
Macfarlane (8-0 MMA) became the first 125-pound female champion at Bellator 186, submitting Emily Ducote. She submitted Alejandra Lara in her first title defense at Bellator 201 in June.
After the fight, Macfarlane declared she wanted her next fight to be held in the state that hasn’t seen a major MMA card since EliteXC: Return of the King on June 14, 2008.
Letourneau (10-6) has challenged for a world title in the past. She lost to Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the UFC strawweight title by unanimous decision at UFC 193. Letourneau has won both of her Bellator fights, defeating Kate Jackson and Kristina Williams, each by unanimous decision.
Machida (24-8) signed with the Viacom-owned promotion in June. He left the UFC after back-to-back wins, including a spectacular second-round knockout of Vitor Belfort at UFC 224.
Carvalho (15-2) will look to get back in the winner’s circle after he was knocked out in the first round by Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 200 to lose his middleweight title. That defeat snapped his 15-fight winning streak.
Gracie (8-0) is a fourth-generation member of the famed jiu-jitsu Gracie family. He has won six consecutive fights in Bellator. Most recently, Gracie submitted Javier Torres in the second round at Bellator 198.
Ruth (6-0) won three straight NCAA wrestling championships for Penn State from 2012-14. He signed with Bellator in 2015 and made his debut against Dustin Collins-Miles at Bellator 163 in November 2016. Ruth fought at June’s Bellator 201, beating Andy Murad by second-round TKO.
The winner of Gracie-Ruth will meet the winner of the fight between welterweight champion Rory MacDonald and Jon Fitch. That fight will take place in early 2019.