Douglas Lima wants to recapture the welterweight championship through Bellator’s 170-pound grand prix, and it would feel even better to meet his last foe in the tournament final.
Facing Andrey Koreshkov in a quarter-final bout Saturday night in San Jose, Calif., Lima guarantees he’s focused solely on this trilogy bout at Bellator 206. However, he hopes that current titleholder Rory MacDonald, who defeated him via decision in January, is successful in his journey as well so that they might fight again.
“Round six. Let’s get it done,” Lima told MMA Fighting. “We have some unfinished business. I’m rooting for him to win his fights and we meet in the final. He’s a tough guy, and the fight will definitely be even bigger if we meet in the final. I’m doing my part, and I hope he does his part. The perfect scenario is winning this tournament beating him in the final.”
Lima has competed in three tournaments before throughout his 36-fight MMA career, winning every single one of them. “The Phenom” has captured two tournament titles since joining the Bellator roster in 2011, knocking out Ben Saunders in both finals, but sees this grand prix as the best in MMA history.
”Name other tournament that is bigger than this,” Lima said. “This tournament will be bigger than (Bellator’s) heavyweight tournament. It will be the most exciting tournament in history. We have tough guys, young prospects like (Neiman) Gracie and (Ed) Ruth, who have few fights but are great fighters, so it won’t be easy. It’s going to be huge.”
“Two guys in, one guy out. Survival of the fittest,” he continued. “Fighting one guy after the other is good. I want to stay active. It’s my second fight in 2018, and I wanted three or four fights this year. It’s also good that I know who my next opponent will be, (Paul) Daley or ‘MVP’ (Michael Page), so it’s easier. Three fights to win the big prize. I heard it will be something cool.”
Lima admits he didn’t expect to face Koreshkov in the quarter-final bout, but welcomes the chance to “get rid” of one of the toughest competitors right away. With all tournament bouts being five-round fights, Lima says “whoever wins the tournament really is the man, and that motivates me.”
Knowing that the winner of “an interesting fight” between Daley and Page will be next for him if he’s victorious at Bellator 206, Lima doesn’t have a prediction on the other quarterfinal bout.
“Daley will be a tough fight for ‘MVP’, who is finally fighting someone with a bigger name, a top opponent, a veteran,” Lima said. “They are talking crap to each other for a while. I think Daley has a better chance at winning, but ‘MVP’ is awkward, is tough to fight and might surprise a lot of people.”
The winner of Lima vs. Koreshkov and Daley vs. Page will advance to the tournament final, meeting whoever advances in the other side of the bracket. Neiman Gracie vs. Ed Ruth and Rory MacDonald vs. Jon Fitch will battle for the second spot in the grand prix final.