Rory MacDonald had to dig deep to take the Bellator welterweight championship away from Douglas Lima at Bellator 192, and the Brazilian talent is still mad about his strategy in the fifth round.
Lima took on the former UFC welterweight contender in the co-main event of Saturday’s card in Inglewood, Calif., and “already anticipated a war” with “The Red King”, but can’t stop thinking about the last five minutes of the fight.
”I wanted to knock him out,” Lima told MMA Fighting. “I knew it would be a tough fight. I’m glad that we put on a war, but it’s stuck in my throat, man. I kind of gave him the fifth round. I should have tried to get back up but I didn’t want to lose position and locked him in my guard, waiting for the referee to stand us back up again. That was my mistake.”
MacDonald, who won via unanimous decision, was ahead in two of the three scorecards going into the final round (39-37). Judges Michael Bell and Marcos Rosales gave the challenger a 10-9 in rounds one, two and four, while Brian Miner had it tied (38-38).
Lima thought he had won two of the first four rounds, like Miner scored it, and thought that winning the fifth would be enough for him to come out victorious. At that point, MacDonald had to deal with a serious leg injury caused by Lima’s leg kicks, so the champion decided to go for the finish.
”I still have to re-watch the fight, but I think it was 2-2 and I had to win that round,” Lima said. “But I saw that his leg was too hurt and he wouldn’t be able to walk, so I rushed in like crazy to kick and that’s when he used his experience and took me down. That was my mistake. I should have moved more because he wouldn’t be able to walk, and I gave him the round. Man, what a mistake, I can’t stop thinking about that moment. I had the fight in my hands and I gave it to him. It was my mistake.
”We clinched, I believe it was in the third round, and I saw his shin and started to focus on that. That was my mistake. He was waiting for the kicks, and I should have gone for knees, hands, to move more. He’s an intelligent fighter and adapted to the situation, so I can’t take that away from him. He fought the right fight, but, man, what a mistake… I still can’t understand that.
”I did way more damage than him. I have to re-watch it. I still haven’t re-watched it yet because I’m so mad I can’t watch it now [laughs], but I will. I’m glad that many people said I won, that it was a close fight. I can’t wait to fight him again. I’m upset with myself. Hats off to him, he was a warrior, but make no mistake about it, I want a rematch as soon as possible.
”I’ve gained even more respect for him after a fight like this. Any other fighter would have quit. I’ve fought guys that quit between rounds because of my leg kicks, that has happened before, but he continued. That was his night. I can’t wait to fight him again.”
MacDonald could be sidelined for six months after the title win, and Lima wants to stay active. Injury-free after Bellator 192, the Brazilian plans on coming back to the cage in the second quarter of 2018.
“A rematch is what I want, but I don’t know how long it will take for him to come back,” Lima said. “I’m glad that his leg and nose aren’t broken, so he might come back faster. It is what it is. If they don’t give me an immediate rematch, I’ll fight someone else.”
Lima is hoping to fight two or three more times this year, and vows to re-capture the title before 2019.
”I will get this belt back before the end of the year, no matter who has it by then,” Lima said. “Let’s wait and see. But I can’t wait for a rematch, man. I can’t stop thinking about that belt. I want to get it back.”