Lima fights Saunders on Friday for the season 8 welterweight tournament final in the main event of Bellator 100 in Phoenix, Ariz., and the title shot is on the line. The Brazilian, who knocked out Saunders in 2011, wants to complete his run in the 170-pound tourney with three finishes.
"I’m very happy with the result of my fights," Lima told MMAFighting.com. "It was very important for me to finish them all. I promised to myself that I would finish all my fights in this tournament and now I just have one left."
"I will be very aggressive, trying to finish him as fast as possible," he said. "I know it won’t be easy, but I’m ready for anything he brings to the fight. He has evolved a lot since, but I know I’m better and more confident now. I never underestimate an opponent, and I expect a tough fight."
Lima was expected to face Ben Saunders at Bellator 93 on March 21, but a broken hand and an injured rib forced the promotion to postpone the bout.
"Fighting in a tournament is a different experience," he said, "it’s harder to cut weight and I always have to be careful to stay uninjured, but the best part is that I stay active and fight every month."
Undefeated in MMA and 9-0 in Bellator, Askren could leave the promotion and sign with the UFC once his contract with the promotion is over, but Lima hopes he stays in the promotion so he can get his revenge.
"It was great that I fought against him," he said. "Unfortunately I lost, but I’ve learned a lot with that loss. I know his style and I know exactly what I have to do to win, but I’m focused on Saunders now."
"Askren is a Top 10 in my mind," he continued. "This guy never lost and is keeping better and better. I always believed his style was very effective, besides the fact that he didn’t finish his opponents. It’s very hard to defend yourself when he’s on top of you. He’s proving that he’s getting better and finished his last opponents. I want the rematch so bad."
After six consecutive decision victories under the Bellator banner, Askren finished Karl Amoussou and Andrey Koreshkov earlier this year, but Lima has worked on his takedown defense to stop Askren’s reign as the welterweight champion.
"I’m training more wrestling since that loss," he said. "I won’t get in an Olympic level of wrestling, but it will be enough to stop his game. I can’t stop thinking about this fight."