The fight is real: Ahead of title defense, Macfarlane navigates year like no other

Bellator photo

Hawaii’s Ilima-Lei Macfarlane can forget about COVID-19, which delayed her wedding – as well as an abuse lawsuit she’s joined against a former Punahou basketball coach – when she defends her flyweight title against Juliana Velasquez on Thursday at Bellator 254 in Connecticut.

Perched on a curb outside the gym 10th Planet San Diego, unceremoniously wedged between a taco shop and auto repair business, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane laughs and laughs and laughs some more.