Bellator books Hawaiian fights, beating out UFC for first bouts there in a decade

Bellator MMA has beaten the UFC to the punch by booking the first major mixed martial arts event in Hawaii in a decade.

Flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, a native of Honolulu, will defend her belt on Dec. 15 in her hometown, taking on Valerie Letourneau.

The fight will take place at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

Macfarlane (8-0), who now fights out of San Diego, became Bellator's inaugural 125-pound women's champ last November with a fifth-round submission of Emily Ducote. The 28-year-old successfully defended her title on June 29 with another submission win, this one against Alejandra Lara.

At that same June event in Temecula, California, Letourneau (10-6) defeated Kristina Williams by unanimous decision. It was her second straight victory since joining Bellator following a stint with the UFC.

The Honolulu fight will be streamed on the new DAZN service, according to a KHON report.

The UFC has been trying to book a Hawaii card that would feature its own Honolulu-born champ, featherweight Max Holloway. But promotion president Dana White told reporters last month that a show proposed for this year "got shut down by the tourism board."

The last major MMA show in Hawaii was a 2008 event promoted by EliteXC that was headlined by a fight between KJ Noons and Yves Edwards. Nick Diaz also fought that night at the Blaisdell Center.