Douglas Lima is one of the most accomplished fighters in Bellator history, but he finds himself in a unique position ahead of his Bellator 283 main event bout with Jason Jackson, which goes down Friday night in Tacoma, Wash.
“The Phenom” has beaten a who’s who of the Bellator welterweight division since his promotional debut more than a decade ago, topping the likes of Rory MacDonald, Michael Page, Andrey Koreshkov, Paul Daley, and Lorenz Larkin, but has dropped decisions to Gegard Mousasi, Yaroslav Amosov, and Page in a span of 12 months from 2020 and 2021.
It’s a must-win situation for Lima, who also missed weight by 1.8 pounds at Thursday’s Bellator 283 weigh-ins.
Jackson, on the other hand, has won five in a row going into his first headlining spot in Bellator — five decisions over Daley, Neiman Gracie, Benson Henderson, Jordan Mein, and Kiichi Kunimoto. He’s riding high on the best run of his career.
Lima likes the matchup, even though he considers Jackson “a tough fight.”
“He’s coming off good wins, he’s tough and durable and doesn’t get tired, but it’s a good matchup for me,” Lima said on a recent episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. “He has good boxing and decent wrestling, and I think he’ll try the same thing he did to Daley. Tough fight, but I like the matchup.”
Regardless of what Jackson might try against him inside the circular cage, Lima isn’t even considering leaving Washington with another loss in his MMA record.
“Three [losses] in a row, that’s never happened before, but it’s normal,” said Lima, a multiple-time welterweight champion in Bellator with an overall record of 32-10. “We get older and start to look at the other side of things, you know? Fighting is tense. If I had suffered three straight knockouts that would be one thing, but the fights I lost — I definitely lost to Mousasi and Amosov, but this last one [against Page] was close. I think I still have that fire in me, I still have a lot of fights to do.”
Lima flew to Thailand to train for Bellator 283, something he has done three times before in his career but wasn’t able to since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Brazilian said it’s challenging to be away from family for so long, but it’s a necessary sacrifice to get out of his comfort zone.
“All we do there is train, so I decided to do part of my camp there,” Lima said. “I was supposed to stay longer but only managed to stay there for two or three weeks, but every time I go there I learn so much. I couldn’t go there for those three losses I had, but I’m back to my normal schedule now after COVID. I’ll go after this victory because I have to win no matter what.
“I’m healthy, I’m feeling physically well. Everything hurts after 30 [laughs], but I’m back to training like before. When I started to get older I slowed things down in training and that makes so much difference. It’s hard, but I’m training twice a day again to get better. We have go the extra mile. I’m broken in the end, but feeling good. We have to get back to that old form because I can’t lose anymore [laughs]. No way.”
Jackson, nicknamed “The Ass-Kicking Machine,” is 15-4 in the sport with seven finishes to his credit, none of those under the Bellator banner. According to Lima, “he finds a way to win, so I have to be careful and not let him stall.”
“What matters the most is winning, and I wanna win this the best way I can,” he said. “I wanna submit him, I wanna knock him out. I don’t want a decision, especially five rounds. Only decisions and decisions [in my past four fights] and losing a bunch of them, but that’s the game we play. It’s not always we can get the finish. Guys are getting tougher and tougher, especially since I’m always fighting the best.
“But I want to knock him out, I want to submit him, because I want to fight for the belt again and the only way I get that [chance] is by putting on a show with those knockouts people love to see. I’m confident I’ll get the knockout. With a good win, a nice knockout, I’m sure I’ll fight for the belt again.”