Bellator 213 is an event that under other circumstances would probably suffer from being the second consecutive event in as many days. Fortunately, it only gets bolder. Former legends (both former UFC champions) and Bellator mainstays pepper this card, and the undercard is loaded with local action fighters and some very interesting surging talent.
This card wasn’t just well assembled, the undercard was very well scouted as well. The title fight at the top features a very durable veteran taking on one of the very best flyweight fighters we’ve ever seen, fighting in her hometown. It’s as if everything has fallen into place more than any previous Bellator event.
At this rate, this should probably be a yearly tradition for Bellator. Double up on Hawaiian shows and stack it as best you can. It’s looking great now, so why not make it a thing?
We’ve already mentioned the title fight. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (8-0) has gone so far and improved so much since the fight that made her infamous, that now she’s recognized and respected for all the right reasons. Her submission game is fantastic and her striking is crisp and smart. She’s very good at making her opponent move where she needs them to in order to bait them and open up with combinations. Valerie Letourneau (10-6) has good takedown defense, major durability and sneaky boxing with an underappreciated counter game.
Lyoto Machida (24-8) makes his Bellator debut against hard hitting Muay Thai specialist Rafael Carvalho (15-2). Carvalho’s big on leg and body kicks, which Shogun Rua had success with when he fought Machida close to a decade ago. But Carvalho also has some hard punches to set those kicks up, as well as some devastating head kicks. Machida’s still mostly a counter fighter, but still very lively and dangerous - clever as ever. Despite being known for his passiveness, Machida has shown urgency and a willingness to turn things up late, such as in his fights against Rampage Jackson and Chris Weidman. Sure, both of those fights were losses, but they demonstrate an awareness of time and place in a fight, even late into the final frames of it.
Neiman Gracie (8-0) and wrestling phenom Ed Ruth (6-0) clash in a welterweight tournament five-rounder, pitting masterful grapplers against each other. Former Strikeforce champ Muhammed Lawal (21-7) usually shows up big for his end of the year performances, and he’s gonna need every bit of veteran savvy and skill against lanky submission threat and remarkably tough Liam McGeary (12-3).
Opening the main card will be a battle between locals Nainoa Dung (1-0 amateur, 1-0 pro) and Kona Oliveira (3-0 amateur, 1-0 pro).
Full fight card is as follows:
Ilima-Lei MacFarlane vs Valerie Letorneau - Flyweight championship fight
Lyoto Machida vs Rafael Carvalho - Middleweight
Neiman Gracie vs Ed Ruth - Welterweight
Muhammed Lawal vs Liam McGeary - Light heavyweight
Kona Oliveira vs Nainoa Dung - Lightweight
Timothy Teves vs Canaan Kawaihae - Featherweight
Shojin Miki vs Kai Kamaka III - Bantamweight
Spencer Higa vs Ryan Dela Cruz - Lightweight
Dustin Barca vs Isaac Hopps - Lightweight
Kala Hose vs Marcus Gamble - Light heavyweight
Maki Pitolo vs Chris Cisneros - 180lb catchweight
Russell Mizuguchi vs Michael Nakagawa - Flyweight
Bellator 213 prelims begin at 8:30pm for us mainlanders, with the main card 10:00pm EST. It will all be streaming live exclusively on DAZN.