When most people think of the name Ilima-Lei MacFarlane, the thought that comes to mind is what happened in her pro debut. That was the night of the infamous “Soccer Mom” video where MacFarlane defeated Katie Castro by knockout in ten seconds.
That fight took place just over a year ago and that night still comes up when people discuss or even search MacFarlane’s name online. It actually also came up in a job interview that MacFarlane had recently and she joked on a recent episode of “The MMA Report Podcast” that maybe that is the reason she got the job.
For MacFarlane (2-0), she embraces what happened in her pro debut and how she got her notoriety in this sport. She doesn’t mind talking about the situation since she would rather answer questions about the incident as opposed to someone just making observations in what they saw online.
No matter what, people are going to make assumptions about that video since it’s very easy to find online. But in an ideal world, how would MacFarlane want the fans of mixed martial arts to perceive her?
“I am just a fighter. I did my job and I fought who they put in front of me,” MacFarlane told The MMA Report. “I had no control on who my opponent was. As a fighter, you really don’t have any control over who you are fighting. All you know is the person who is standing in the cage with you. They are trying to take you head off so it’s like you either go for it or you lose. I just want people to perceive me as a fighter. I went in there and did my job. I am moving to the next fight.”
Following her pro debut, MacFarlane was signed by Bellator and she ended up scoring a split decision victory against Maria Rios at Bellator 141. MacFarlane admitted that part of that fight was about proving some people wrong, but also knows there are things she needs to improve on.
“There is always room for improvement,” she said. “I don’t think any fighter is ever going to look back at their fight and be like ‘that is flawless. I did it perfectly.’ It’s funny because the more I watch the fight, the more I cringe. I am like, ‘I did not do as well as I thought.’ But I think that is good. It motivates me to want to do better. Also, I was content knowing that I kind of prove a lot of the naysayers wrong. A lot of people thought I was just a chump after the soccer mom fight. So my goal was to just get in there and prove that I have some skill. I can fight, but of course there is always room for improvement.”
Coming up on Friday night at Bellator 148 in California, MacFarlane will look to remain undefeated in her career when she takes on Tackett. Just like MacFarlane, this will be the third professional fight for Tackett and she is coming off a decision win against Corina Herrera in October at The Warriors Cage 23.
When it comes to the fight against Tackett, the major challenge for MacFarlane is the fact that Tackett is a southpaw. This will be the first time that MacFarlane will be fighting a southpaw and her training partners have been showing her various techniques that Tackett may throw, including an overhand left. While fighting a southpaw as been an emphasis in preparations for this fight, MacFarlane knows that fighting a smart fight will be the key to her walking away from Bellator 148 with a victory.
“This one is going to come down to being the smarter fighter. Not losing my head. Not going out there is just scrap and brawl,” she explained. “I got to use my techniques. I got to be smart now. I am not going to over extend on my punches. I am not just going to attack and pushing forward. So it’s just being smarter. If I get hit, I am not going to freak out and start brawling. I just have to be smart and stick with my game plan.”