Bellator Champ Douglas Lima Says Facing Paul Daley is the Fight he Needs
By Kelsey Mowatt
If someone were looking for evidence that Bellator is fully embracing Scott Coker’s vision of promoting, they need look no further than the February 27th bout between Douglas Lima and Paul Daley.
Lima, in many respects, is the bi-product of Bjorn Rebney’s tenure as Bellator CEO. The fighter bombed his way through not one, but two welterweight tournaments, to become one of the promotion’s top commodities. After failing to end the championship reign of Ben Askren in 2012, Lima took out Rick Hawn last April to lay claim to the promotion’s vacant title.
Daley, on the other hand, hasn’t fought for the promotion since 2012, when he stopped Rudy Bears. Since that was Daley’s only Bellator appearance to date, under the promotion’s previous matchmaking model, the British fighter wouldn’t be fighting for the title when he returns to the promotion.
But, as Coker promised when he took over the promotion’s reigns, compelling fights, rather than tournaments, were going to be the focus for Bellator moving forward. Sure, Daley hasn’t worked his way up Bellator’s welterweight rankings, but the feared striker has continued to finish fights, and remains one of the division’s most recognizable names.
“I actually like it the way it is right now,” Lima said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, when asked if he’s a fan of Bellator’s new match-making strategy. “So that way I don’t have to wait so long for an opponent you know? And of course, they’re going to give me the top guy, a high level guy like Daley…”
Since Daley fought for Bellator, “Semtex” has gone 5-1 competing for organizations like Cage Warriors, BAMMA and Legend. Due to the fact four of the victories have come via knockout, for a while, there was talk Daley could return to the UFC. Despite the fact that the veteran was banned by the promotion in 2010, for punching Josh Koscheck after the final bell.
“I don’t care if he went through the tournament or not,” Lima furthered. “I’m just excited that I have a match-up like this. This is the type of fight that I want, that I need, and I’m very happy with it.”
Many would argue that the “type of fight” fans will see on February 27th, is one that will likely end in a highlight reel finish. While Daley’s reputation for finishing fights was forged long ago, Lima has also been brutalizing the opposition during his run with Bellator.
Since arriving in Bellator back in 2011, Lima has recorded stoppage victories in seven of his eight wins. Two of his KO wins were against the well rounded, UFC vet, Ben Saunders.
So, when you consider the abilities, approach and resume of both fighters, Coker knew he had a fight that was meant to be.
“Definitely, not only for the fans, but for myself as well,” furthered Lima, while discussing the positive feedback the bout’s announcement received. “I want to fight guys like that. I mean, awesome KO’s all around the world, the guy’s known, he has a huge name, so it’s a fight that I want and the fans want. I do see a lot of feedback from the fans about this fight….It’s just very exciting.”
Lima-Daley will headline Bellator 133, which will be hosted by the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The main card will be broadcast on SPIKE.