Bellator’s lone event for the month of June is upon us with Ilima Macfarlane looking to defend her flyweight crown for the first time, as she takes on the 7-1 Alejandra Lara in the Bellator 201 main event. Ryan Couture will be facing off with promotional veteran Saad Awad in the co-main event. Also on the card, the 18-1 Juan Archuleta will be facing UFC vet Robbie Peralta, and another UFC veteran in Valerie Letourneau will be facing the 2-0 Kristina Williams. The prelims is chock full of top prospects, such as Joey Davis, Ed Ruth, and Tyrell Fortune. For in-depth analysis of each main card bout, check out The MMA Vivisection with Bloody Elbow’s own Zane Simon, Vic Rodriguez, and Eddie Mercado.
**Bellator 201 can be seen on the Paramount Network at 9:00 P.M. ET with the prelims streaming online at 8:00 P.M .ET.
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (7-0 MMA; 6-0 Bellator) vs. Alejandra Lara (7-1 MMA; 1-0 Bellator): (W) Flyweight Title
At 7-0, Macfarlane has already captured Bellator’s flyweight title. She did so by submitting Emily Ducote last November with a crazy triangle armbar. In that bout, Macfarlane showed substantial improvements in her standup skills from the first time her and Ducote went at it, just 11 months prior to the title fight. Macfarlane showed off a really well rounded game that is going to make her quite the challenge for whoever is coming for her belt.
Lara sits at 7-1 and made her promotional debut by submitting Lena Ovchynnikova in the third round with an RNC. Her grappling abilities were evident when she was able to get Ovchynnikova down to the ground and take control of the back before sinking the sub. Lara’s standup wasn’t exactly the most polished in her first fight under the bright lights, so it’ll be interesting to see how she will do against Macfarlane on the feet.
Ryan Couture (11-5 MMA; 3-2 Bellator) vs. Saad Awad (22-9 MMA; 10-6 Bellator): 160 pounds
Ryan Couture is chugging along his pro MMA journey and is now attempting to take another step up in competition. Traditionally, Couture hasn’t done particularly well when taking leaps up in competition, but perhaps now is the time for the son of Randy Couture to come into his own. Maybe?
Saad Awad has strung together three straight wins and is now looking to make it four straight. We’ve seen Awad triumph over the likes of Will Brooks, Joe Duarte, and Cyborg Santos and he’s now is facing a middle of the road kind of fighter in Couture. Can Couture throw anything in Awad’s direction that he hasn’t seen already?
Juan Archuleta (18-1 MMA; 1-0 Bellator) vs. Robbie Peralta (19-8 MMA; Bellator Debut): Featherweight
Juan Archuleta was a multiple division champ for KOTC, and has compiled a lengthy record full of less than elite opposition. After defeating the 17-13 William Joplin, Archuleta is now slated to face his first real veteran that has actually fought some legit competition. Is Archuleta for real?
Robbie Peralta is a fighter that came up in the Gladiator Challenge circuit and actually made it to the UFC, where he went 4-4-1. Peralta has gone 1-2 since leaving the Zuffa promotion, and looks for new life under the Bellator banner. Will Peralta be able to expose a Archuleta and his someone inflated record, or will he be the gatekeeper that proves that Archuleta is a real threat in the featherweight division?
Valerie Letourneau (9-6 MMA; 1-0 Bellator) vs. Kristina Williams (2-0 MMA/Bellator): (W) Flyweight
Valerie Letourneau came into the Bellator promotion following a respectable 3-3 run inside of the UFC. In her Viacom debut, Letourneau picked up a unanimous decision over Kate Jackson this past December. Can Letourneau pull from her plethora of experience to derail the hype train of the 2-0 Williams?
Kristina Williams comes out looking to kick her opponent in the face. Brutal head kicks have been her weapon of choice, as we saw when she exploded the nose of Heather Hardy in her Bellator debut. In her sophomore performance, Williams got the best of former flyweight title challenger Emily Ducote with a unanimous decision, and if Williams gets past Letourneau, then she could very well be next in line for a shot at the belt.