Welterweight champion Douglas Lima is moving up to 185 pounds to take on former middleweight champion, Gegard Mousasi. Scott Coker formally announced via Twitter that Bellator has booked the fight for the vacant middleweight title. The bout will take place on May 9th in San Jose. This news comes on the heels of Rafael Lovato Jr. relinquishing the belt due to a recently identified rare brain condition.
Reviewing Douglas Lima vs Gegard Mousasi
Although Mousasi lost the middleweight title to Lovato eight short months ago, the majority decision loss wasn’t without its controversy. As is common in most close five-round decisions, some felt the wrong person won. Mousasi was visibly indignant over the loss during the post-fight interviews. He vowed to dominate in a rematch and even accused Lovato of cheating. Although the current title situation is far from ideal, putting Mousasi back into the picture makes sense. Mousasi arguably could’ve gotten the decision victory when he fought Lovato. While one judge scored it a draw, the other two scored the fight 48-47 for Lovato. Mousasi also went on to avenge his 2014 loss to Lyoto Machida just three months after the title loss. This quick turnaround is arguably what clinched the title fight for Mousasi.
Douglas Lima’s Recent Run
Douglas Lima, though not particularly experienced as a middleweight, has been doing impressive things at welterweight. In the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix, Lima submitted former welterweight champion, Andre Koreshkov. Shortly thereafter, Lima knocked out the previously undefeated Michael ‘Venom’ Page. Prior to their fight, Page was an undefeated boxer, kickboxer, and mixed martial artist. This didn’t stop Lima from standing with the mesmerizing striker. Lima used his powerful leg kicks to knock Page off of his game and into a knockout punch. With this win, Lima was granted an alluring matchup against Rory MacDonald.
A victory over Rory MacDonald held significant meaning. Firstly, Lima would be avenging the close decision loss that had taken his championship belt. Secondly, a win would make Lima the welterweight champion once again–something he had been eager to regain. And thirdly, beating MacDonald would be the final step to winning the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix. It was a big fight, and Lima made the most of his opportunity. Douglas Lima decisively defeated Rory MacDonald via unanimous decision. In addition to the aforementioned benefits to this win, it appears that Lima also earned an opportunity to fight for the middleweight belt. Talk about a game-changer.
Welterweight vs Middleweight
Ironically, Rory MacDonald already tried to accomplish exactly what Lima is attempting to do. While MacDonald was the welterweight champion, he also moved up in weight to challenge Gegard Mousasi for the middleweight belt. If that outcome is of any indication, a career welterweight beating Gegard Mousasi is a lofty goal to the highest measure. But styles make fights, and certainly, anything can happen in MMA.
Lima’s takedown defense has noticeably improved throughout his career, but it will need to be perfect against a wizard like Gegard Mousasi. One takedown could spell disaster, particularly with the size disadvantage to contend with. A striking match between these two would be quite interesting, however. The key to victory against Lima has always been to get him to the ground. So it’s common knowledge that he can strike. But Mousasi is dangerous on the feet as well. If Lima can keep the fight standing, he keeps the fight compelling.
Two Title Fights
Douglas Lima vs Gegard Mousasi will serve as the co-main event to a light-heavyweight title fight. Ryan Bader will be defending the light heavyweight title against dangerous contender and Fedor Emelianenko protégé Vadim Nemkov. Bader will be adding himself to the shortlist of double champions who have simultaneously defended both of their belts. And good for him, because Nemkov is arguably his toughest available fight in both divisions.