Macfarlane vs Velasquez Live Stalking opposition in a stance and manner that resembles some of the greats who came out of Nova Uniao, the Team Nogueira product does a good job of coming forward and cutting off the cage without getting too greedy.
Prodding with everything from jabs to kick feints/Thai marches, Velasquez keeps her left hand on a hair trigger.
Whether she is coming forward off a combo or countering her opposition in space, Velasquez’s left cross is one of her most accurate weapons.
However, like any good lefty, Velasquez also accompanies her attacks with a sneaky check hook from the right side, as well as a multitude of kick offerings down the power lanes.
Still, Velasquez is not beyond being stung or having her system overloaded, so she’ll need to stay sharp when it comes to the champion’s level-changing intents. The contest headlines the fight card taking place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
Staple info: Height: 5’4″ Age: 30 Weight: 125 lbs. Reach: 66.5″ Last fight: Decision win over Kate Jackson (Dec. 21, 2019) Camp: 10th Planet Freaks (San Diego, Calif.)
Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing Risk management: Good. Height: 5’6″ Age: 34 Weight: 125 lbs. Reach: 67.5″ Last fight:
Decision win over Bruna Ellen (Dec. 21, 2019) Camp: Team Nogueira (Brazil) Stance/striking style: Southpaw/muay Thai Risk management: Good.
The main event for Bellator 254 features a flyweight title fight between two grapplers who have developed their striking games from opposite stances.
Initially starting off her career a bit raw in the standing department, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane has made legitimate strides to her game throughout her title reign.
The Hawaiian champ still shows the patience to play on the outside or the ability to pressure her way forward, but she does so in a much more efficient manner than before.
Utilizing a steady dose of fakes and feints, Macfarlane now throws her punches straighter and with more purpose, smartly variating between simple combinations to maximize her effectiveness.
That said, Macfarlane is not beyond mixing things up when feeling in stride, showing the occasional Superman punch or drop-step attack to keep her opposition honest and on their heels.
The 30-year-old talent has also displayed upgraded head movement in recent outings, rolling her head offline when committing to her crosses.
That said, Macfarlane hasn’t had many southpaw looks in-competition, as I’ll be curious to see if her years spent training with Liz Carmouche pays any dividends here. The champion can also hit reactive shots in the open, which may come in handy given her opponent’s strengths.
But even if Macfarlane is the one who ends up on top, she cannot sleep on the transitional skills of her counterpart.
Although Velasquez appears to be more of a positional-based player, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt is not beyond having to show off her transitional chops in the thick of things.