Local fighters Dustin Barca and Timothy Teves fought in the preliminaries of “Bellator 213: Macfarlane vs. Letourneau” last Saturday at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu.
Barca, after a five-year ring absence, won via split decision over Isaac Hopps of Honolulu in a 155-pound bout.
Barca, 36, is now 3-0 in his professional MMA career with Saturday’s win. Hopps is now 4-4.
“It was a good, hard-fought scrap,” Barca said. “I was happy to get the win. I had a lot of pressure on me. I used it to my advantage.”
Barca, of Kilauea, said he injured his shoulder during fight camp.
Part of his layoff from MMA was because of pre-fight injuries, he said in a previous interview with TGI.
“I didn’t want to pull out of the opportunity. I did what I had to do to win,” Barca said. “We had a super-tough fight. I think I edged out the win in the third round with the takedown.”
He added: “I didn’t want to say anything, but I tore up my shoulder pretty bad. I couldn’t use my left hand for the last month of my camp. … I just snapped out of it and went into competition mode. I’ve been competing my whole life. I just know how to mentally get in the game.”
In the last moments of the fight, Barca bled profusely from his head.
“We had a scramble. I tripped, and he ended up on top of me for a second and got a good elbow on the top of my head,” he said. “It looks a lot worse. It was just a little cut on the top of my head. Head cuts, they always bleed super-bad. So, it looked worse than it was. It’s part of the game.”
Barca plans on resting and enjoying the holiday season. He hopes to fight against sometime next year.
“What’s next? I got to heal my wounds. I got a super-fat foot right now and a black eye,” he said. “But, yeah, just spend the holidays with my family, get back to training and hopefully get another big fight in the next five to six months.”
He added about fighting in the Bellator undercard: “It was a great experience. There was a lot of pressure, but I fight good under pressure. I just tried to harness all that energy and bring it on in that third round. I really put my everything, my heart and soul, into it.”
Teves, though, lost in a unanimous decision to Canaan Kawaihae of Kailua in a 145-pound bout.
Teves, 27, of Kapahi, is now 3-1 after suffering his first loss in his pro career. He couldn’t be reached for comment.
Kawaihae is now 4-1 with one no contest.
Barca helped train Teves for previous fights.
“Tim’s a warrior. His opponent came out with a good game plan — just take him down, try to grind him out and hold him there,” Barca said. “Tim’s a fighter. It ended up going three rounds. The guy just had a good game plan. He has a black belt in jiu-jitsu, and he knew that’s where he was going to prevail. Tim’s got a good head on his shoulders. He’ll be back better than ever soon.”
Barca added he and Teves did talk following the fights on Saturday.
“I just told him, ‘minor setback for a major comeback,’” Barca said. “I’m bummed I wasn’t in his corner this time. Every time I was in his corner, he does really good. I felt bad, but I had to do my own thing this camp.”
In the night’s main event, Honolulu native Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defeated Valerie Letourneau of Montreal via submission to defend her Bellator women’s flyweight champion.
Macfarlane is now 9-0 in her pro career, and Letourneau is now 10-7.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.