The biggest mixed martial arts event in Hawaii is set to take place this weekend.
“Bellator 213: Macfarlane vs. Letourneau” is scheduled for Saturday at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu.
The main event features Honolulu native Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (8-0) defending her Bellator women’s flyweight championship against Valerie Letourneau (10-6) from Montreal.
But in the preliminaries, two Kauai fighters will be featured.
Timothy “War” Teves of Kapahi and Dustin Barca of Kilauea will fight in the Bellator 213 undercard.
“It’s just another day at the office, I feel,” Teves said. “I don’t feel any different now that it’s the big show. I’m just continuing to do what I’ve been doing my whole life. I mean, I’m super excited about this Bellator Hawaii, but I’m just trying to ease into it, embrace all the moments I can.
“I’m trying not to think of it too much. I’m trying to think of it as just another fight. I don’t want to put that big pressure of fighting on the big screen in my head because I know that’s where I belong. My opportunity presented itself. I’m ready, man. It’s go time. This is my chance right now.”
Teves (3-0) will fight Canaan Kawaihae of Oahu (4-1, 1 no contest) in a 145-pound bout.
Teves was training in Albuquerque, N.M. for five weeks.
“(I was) at Jackson Wink MMA,” he said. “I went out there about 15 months ago. It was definitely out of my comfort zone. I wanted to head back there, just to be away from home, stay focused on my training and get the right preparation for the big show.”
Teves, 27, last fought in August in X1’s “2 Nights Of Fights” in Honolulu. He won via submission to win X1’s 145-pound featherweight championship.
Kawaihae was the X1 145-pound title holder and was supposed to defend it against Teves months ago, but he vacated the belt to fight in Ultimate Fighting Championship’s “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” in July.
“We finally meet,” Teves said. “He’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu. That’s where his roots come from. He’s a young and upcoming prospect. He’s been in the fight business for a while now. He’s been known as one of the best in Hawaii. He has a lot of hype behind him, and I’m about to steal all that hype away from him this weekend.”
Teves aims to eventually fight in the UFC. A win in Honolulu this weekend, he believes, will catapult him toward that goal.
“I’m confident in my management team to bring me to the UFC,” he said. “I’m just putting it out there. I got the text from my manager himself. He told me, ‘Get the finish, and big things are coming.’ I’m really expecting to get signed. I just got to go out there, execute this win, and it will all fall into place.”
Barca, 36, was training on-and-off in Orange County, Calif., for about the last two-and-a-half months.
He was a former professional surfer and a one-time Kauai Mayoral candidate. Barca is making his return to the ring after a five-year absence.
“I feel great. I’ve been training ever since,” Barca said. “I have my own gym, so I’m always training everybody. I’ve just been learning and getting better for the last five years. I feel really good. I’m up here in California sparring with world-class people, and I feel great.”
Barca last fought in 2013 on Kauai, in which he won via unanimous decision.
His MMA career, though, was derailed by injuries.
“I hurt my neck when I had one fight lined up, a big fight. I hurt my neck really bad,” he said. “Then, I had another fight lined up. I hurt my knee really bad. I had two major injuries in a row. Then, I ran for mayor, which threw my whole life off. I’ve just been training and getting better, but I’ve never committed to a fight. But I’ve been helping other guys fight.”
He added: “I was on a roll. I was winning fights. It would have been good because I probably would have been in the UFC already, but sometimes life throws you curveballs like that. I believe it’s made me a stronger person mentally and physically. So, I feel like I’m at my all-time best right now, and I’m ready to prove that.”
While he hasn’t had a fight in the ring in the last few years, Barca has helped train other fighters at his gym Boars Nest MMA. One of the fighters Barca has helped prep for fights is Teves.
Barca said “it’s exciting” to now be on the same card together.
“I know me and Tim are looking to make Kauai proud and put Kauai on the map,” he said.
Teves said: “I’m super stoked for Dustin. I’ve been fighting in his corner, training under Boars Nest, for some years now. He’s been my training partner all the way up until today. … He’s been wanting to get in for a while now. I’m just super stoked for Dustin that he’s getting back in there and show the world how hard we work at Boars Nest Kauai.”
Barca (2-0) will fight against Isaac Hopps (4-3) in a 155-pound bout.
“He’s a tough kid from Oahu. He comes from a good team,” Barca said of his opponent. “I’m expecting the toughest fight of my life.”
On Saturday, Barca aims to revive his fight career with a win on Oahu.
“I’m planning on making a good run, a good career, right now,” Barca said. “I think I’m in the prime of my life. I feel like I’m at a world-class level. So, I’m here to prove to myself and everyone else that I’m at that level.”
Bellator 213 will be shown live on streaming service DAZN. The fights will also be shown at Kalapaki Joe’s on Saturday at both the Lihue and Poipu locations.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.