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Bellator 186: Emily Ducote vs Ilima-Lei MacFarlane preview and prediction

The inaugural Bellator women's flyweight title is on the line for Emily Ducote and Ilima-Lei MacFarlane as they face off for part two of their story.


Bellator has embraced women’s MMA, giving fans some great matchups. Bellator 186 on 3 November 2017 is no different. Emily “Gordinha” Ducote vs Ilima-Lei “The Iliminator” MacFarlane will continue that trend. Both fighters are smooth on the ground, tough as nails and are familiar with each other. There couldn’t be a better matchup for the inaugural title match.

Emily Ducote

The 23-year-old Emily represents American Top Team OKC, and fights out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She's 6-2 with some great victories under her belt. Of her six victories, three of them have been by submission; rear naked choke, armbar, and rear naked choke. She can pull off these submissions fast and from anywhere. Fighting Bruna Vargas at Bellator 159 showed how deadly her submissions are. She pulled off a rear-naked choke at 29 seconds of round two.

Emily is also a good and deceptive striker. She is a smart counter striker and uses it to keep overly aggressive opponents at bay while controlling the center of the cage. She does a great job of setting her opponents up for the takedowns which leads to busy groundwork turning into submission attempts. It's hard to escape when she sinks in a submission. Her submission game is strong, one of the strongest in the division. She takes a smart and tactical approach to all of her fights and is most comfortable when on the ground.

Facing another predominantly ground fighter, her skills will come into play often and early. She will need to keep striking and will use her much-improved ground and pound. Emily Ducote works hard and improves every time she steps into the cage. Emily has an X-factor in this fight and it's her striking with her ability to control the center of the cage. 

Emily is young, her career is just starting, and winning this fight will be huge for her. The improvements she's making, all the hard work, could mean that she will be a tough champion to dethrone.

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane

Ilima-Lei "The Illiminator" Macfarlane is a force in the women's flyweight division. She has a stellar resume and a victory over Emily Ducote already, this could be her X-factor.

The 27-year-old Ilima-Lei Macfarlane represents Team Hurricane Awesome fighting out of San Diego, California. Her record speaks for itself, with only one of her professional fights coming from a promotion other than Bellator. She is 6-0 with three submission victories: armbar, rear naked choke, armbar and one knockout coming in round one of her first professional fight. 

Ilima-Lei has an extensive set of tools at her disposal every time she steps into the cage. She is comfortable on the ground and is so smooth she can cause an opponent a lot of frustration and fatigue. It's tough to prepare for a fighter like Ilima-Lei, she is smart and her awareness in the cage is at a high level. She can force opponents to fall into her traps and gives herself an opportunity to execute off of those mistakes. Her long legs allow her to create leverage and allows her the ability to get into a defensive ground posture quickly, allowing her to plan and move forward. Ilima-Lei is an exciting grappler.

Facing another ground fighter like Emily Ducote will cause her to have to use this toolset to her advantage. Ilima-Lei will need to leverage her takedown abilities while looking out for Emily's takedowns. Emily is great at striking and keeping distance when her opponent becomes aggressive, Ilima-Lei will need to use her fight IQ to figure out a way to get inside and get hard takedowns. In this fight, and like most fights, Ilima-Lei has an advantage on the ground. Fighting her fight is something she is an expert at.

Ducote vs MacFarlane prediction

These two have fought before, and it was a war. Expect nothing less this time around. MacFarlane is the favorite to win this fight but I am going with the underdog, Emily Ducote in this one. Both fighters have what it takes to be the champion and don't count out the fierce Ducote just yet. 

This fight will have a little striking with a lot of grappling. Both fighters will look for the submission. But Emily will establish the middle of the cage from the onset with her defensive striking. Emily may up the intensity by going for takedowns early, wearing down Ilima-Lei with ground and pound, and because of this, I see this one ending before going to the judges, and Emily Ducote submitting her opponent in round three. Her striking, as long as its consistent and deployed to the body both standing and on the ground, will be too much to overcome. 

Look for Ilima-Lei to be aggressive with the takedowns early, she can't allow Emily to establish dominance and get comfortable in the middle of the cage. Emily will need to put her foot down, and not give up any ground, force Ilima-Lei to come to her. The longer this fight is on the ground and Emily having to be on the defensive, Ilima-Lei increases her odds of winning.

One thing Emily needs to keep in mind is that Ilima-Lei already has a knockout on her record, Ilima-Lei may try to bang especially if she can sprawl, and put up a good ground defense.

Both fighters can and will go the distance if needed. Their first matchup was three exciting rounds. Ilima-Lei had the edge in each round, but it was close. It could have been a justified split decision. Look for the upset in this one and enjoy as a new women's flyweight champion will arise from the ashes of this explosive throw down.

  1. Who do you have winning this fight and becoming the inaugural women's flyweight champion?

    1. Emily "Gordinha" Ducote
    2. Ilima-Lei "The Iliminator" MacFarlane
    12 votes
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Share your thoughts in the comments section on your pick for this fight. This is an exciting time for WMMA, and this fight will be a barn burner.

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Kyle Combs

MMA is my favorite sport. I have been a part of the sport for years, spectating and competing. Women's MMA is where my hearts at and I am excited to write about it and share my insight. Reach out on social media, I look forward to meeting and talking with new people!

Bellator 186: Emily Ducote vs Ilima-Lei MacFarlane preview and prediction

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