Kate Jackson challenges for the Bellator flyweight title this weekend. She takes on Ilima-Lie Macfarlane Saturday, December 21st in Honolulu, Hawaii. Jackson stands to make history with a victory in this bout. To carve out her name in the history books though, she needs to put the first blemish on Macfarlane’s pro record. Jackson has been a veteran of the UK MMA scene for over a decade and is ready to represent for Cornwall on an international level. Jackson vs Macfarlane is a great title bout with world-caliber women.
Jackson’s tenure on the UK MMA scene has resulted in her witnessing a lot of growth but she still sees a lot more that can be done. Jackson stated, “MMA is still definitely growing in the UK. But it’s still not anywhere near as well known as it is in America. Just being able to represent the southwest of the UK is a really big deal for me. Just to show that it really is possible to do the sport at a high level.”
That isn’t to say that Jackson isn’t cognizant of the changes in UK MMA scene from her debut as compared to now. Quite the opposite, really. Jackson quipped, “Massive difference. I’m so lucky. It would have been great if the amateur scene was around when I started but to see it grow and to have started the sport just early enough to be able to do it full time as my career, it’s amazing. It means a lot to me.”
Kevin Derrington has been working with Jackson for ten years. Koncept Gym is the base gym for Jackson but she has a couple of jiu-jitsu gyms she trains at as well. Submission grappling is a key part of Jackson’s journey in martial arts. “I did my first Grappling Industries competition in the summer in London. That was really cool. I love the round-robin format. Winning my division, I got to compete against all of the women in it. Yeah, I think I submitted all of them as well.”
Jackson has a rare opportunity to make history in this bout but she’s not letting those thoughts run away with themselves. Jackson said, “A lot of it for me is the focus is on the fight itself. More than what comes with it. But just the fact that I am the first British female to challenge for a major title, that’s a real honor. It shows how much the sport has grown in the UK and what’s now available now for the amateurs coming to the scene now to achieve.”
The next couple of Bellator cards articulate that the flyweight division is fleshing itself out quite well. There are multiple bouts with title implications whereby they could be fighting the Jackson vs Macfarlane winner at some point in the new year.
Kate Jackson is acutely aware of what the champion brings to the table but is looking forward to the competitive challenge of it all. Jackson quipped, “Well, she’s obviously very good at what she does because she’s undefeated. She’s held he belts for the last two years. She has got a wrestling background, a solid submission grappling game. I’m very comfortable on the ground and I’m looking forward to finding out what she actually feels like. Obviously there’s only so much you can take from watching on tape.”
Jackson has dabbled in some tape study but is mostly focused on sharpening her own tools ahead of Bellator 236. Jackson stated, “One of my coaches in particular watches everything he can get his hands on obsessively. He makes me watch things more to point out things that I should be aware of more than anything else. So I’ve watched her fights but it’s not something I’ve spent a huge amount of time on personally.”
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.