Former Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima will guarantee himself a shot at the 170-pound title if victorious against unbeaten Michael Page at Bellator 221 in Rosemont, IL, on May 11. But even though that’s his ultimate goal for 2019, “The Phenom” is not overlooking Page right now.
For Lima, who split his camp between Thailand and Atlanta, the matchup against “Venom” presents an interesting clash of different striking styles — and that’s where the Brazilian expects the welterweight grand prix semifinal bout to play out.
”He’s a striker, and he’s pretty good at it. And so am I, so it’s going to be a great fight,” Lima told MMA Fighting. “We both like to exchange on the feet, but our styles are pretty different. My plan is to trade with him and finish him right there. That’s the type of fight I like, that’s what fans like. I don’t know what he’ll try to do against me, but I don’t care. I’m focused on what I’m doing. I can’t wait.”
Lima’s low kicks could be an important weapon to try to slow Page down on the feet during the 25-minute bout, but the former champion doesn’t expect to land those so easily.
”I believe that low kicks could be important, but his style is complicated because he moves a lot, so just going for low kicks will be a bit complicated,” Lima said with a laugh. “We have a strategy, I’m not focused on one thing only. The thing is, I have to hit him. It doesn’t matter if it’s a low kick, a high kick, whatever, I have to hit him because he moves really well, he’s always out of range.
”He frustrates a lot of people with this style, so I’ll just focus on my gameplan and not get too worried about specific things. It would be good if I could hit him with those low kicks, but it’s not that easy. He has a different style and moves really well, he’s dangerous, but I have my gameplan.”
In Lima, Page faces arguably the toughest fight of his career after defeating Paul Daley, David Rickels, Fernando Gonzalez, and Evangelista Santos in his previous Bellator appearances. The English welterweight, who turned 32 in April, has been hyped since his professional MMA debut in 2012, but Lima won’t pay attention to any of that.
”There’s big hype behind him, but he’s winning,” Lima said. “I know that sometimes it wasn’t against the highest level of opponents, but winning is what matters. Every fight is tough in this sport. There’s no easy fight today. But I’ve been fighting for a long time, I have 40 fights, I’m experienced, so it will be a good fight for both of us.
”I’m not underestimating anyone, I know it will be a tough fight. I don’t think too much about the talk that he hasn’t fought anyone tough. I’m focused on myself because there’s a lot at stake here. I’m going after that belt. I’m focused on what I have to do and forgetting the rest. It’s about going there, doing what I have to do against whoever it is. I respect the guy, he never disrespected me, and we’re going to fight.”
If victorious at Bellator 221, Lima will face whoever advances between Rory MacDonald and Neiman Gracie on the other side of the tournament bracket. In the end, all “The Phenom” wants is a knockout to secure his title shot.
”I think about a knockout a lot because, for me, a fight has to be finished,” Lima said. “I don’t like to let it go the distance. I want to finish him any way possible. That’s the plan, that’s what I train for. I want the knockout.”