The Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix is set to take place with the opening bout on September 29, 2019, at Bellator 206. Opening the tournament has to be one of the favorites in Douglas Lima. Not only has Lima won the Bellator season five and season eight welterweight tournament, but he has also claimed the 2010 REDLINE Middleweight Grand Prix championship. The former Bellator welterweight champion will look to go three for three in Bellator tournaments and take home the greatest prize of all, the Bellator welterweight belt.
Lima is no stranger to the tournament style in MMA, especially Bellator. “I’m comfortable in a tournament. I won one prior to Bellator too. I just take one fight at a time,” Lima told MMASucka. Lima defeated Ben Saunders at Bellator 57 in November 2011 by second-round knockout to win welterweight season five. After winning the tournament, Lima was earned a title shot against Ben Askren at Bellator 64 but Lima’s first crack at Bellator gold was unfortunately unsuccessful.
Just Prior to season eight, Lima took one last fight to close out 2012, winning by knockout against Jacob Ortiz. Lima would make it back to the finals where he would yet again meet Saunders. The finals took place at Bellator 100 where Lima delivered a head kick knockout of the year. Lima would make good on his second shot at gold defeating Rick Hawn at Bellator 117 for the vacant welterweight title.
The Trilogy to Open the Grand Prix
The first round of the Grand Prix will see Lima face the dangerous Russian, Andrey Koreshkov, in their rubber match. This will be the first of their three matchups to not feature the welterweight title. After losing his title in their initial meeting, Lima came out with an impressive decision win over Paul Daley, who is a potential semi-finals opponent for Lima in the Grand Prix. Lima would get his rematch against Koreshkov 16 months after losing the title. With his back to the cage in the third round, Lima landed a devastating left hand that floored Koreshkov. “I expect him to be better,” Lima stated to MMASucka. “He’s been growing and getting better just like I have.”
The Potential Rematch with Rory McDonald
A unique feature to the Grand Prix is the welterweight title will be on the line for every matchup the champion competes. The unfortunate news for Lima is that he is on the opposite of the bracket from where the title sits. The opposite side of the bracket features champion Rory McDonald taking on Jon Fitch while Ed Ruth takes on Neiman Gracie. The other matchup on the Lima side of the bracket is the highly popular matchup of Michael Page and Paul Daley. “Yeah, I would like to get that win back against Rory. But my main goal is to win the title. Whoever I beat for the title is the best fighter and the champion,” Lima told MMASucka.
The Bright Future for Lima
Many true fans of the sport understand Lima’s contributions to the sport and will respect him for all of time. Many casual fans feel you must compete in the UFC if you want to be respected with the other all-time greats. “I want to fight where the competitors are. I have a family to feed,” Lima told MMASucka. Lima also feels with the addition of fighters like McDonald, Bellator is potential on it’s way to being an even greater force in the world of MMA.
Make sure to catch the first matchup in the Welterweight Grand Prix on Saturday September 29, 2018 on Bellator 206. The event will air on the DAZN mobile app.
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