Douglas Lima: Beating Ben Saunders Is The Last Step To Recognition
By Kelsey Mowatt
While Bellator Fighting Championship’s signing of Douglas Lima a few months back didn’t go unnoticed, the rising welterweight’s arrival was overshadowed by news that UFC veteran Ben Saunders would also compete in the promotion’s season five tournament. After all, while Lima carried an impressive record and left the Maximum Fighting Championship as its welterweight champion, Saunders was the bigger name due to his accomplishments in the Octagon. Now, the two men will fight in the tournament finals on November 12th, and Lima couldn’t be more excited about facing one of Bellator’s more recognized fighters.
“Some people respect me,” Lima told FCF. “They know I was the MFC champion, and that I’m a good prospect, but what’s really important to me is to get my name out there. I want people to recognize my work. So far it’s working out for me but this is another step; beating Ben is the last step to get my name out there. That’s really important to me. I can’t wait for the fight.”
“Ben is a great guy and a great fighter,” Lima (20-4) added. “He has a lot of followers so it’s an important fight for me not only to win the tournament, but for my career. A win over a guy like that will really push my career which is what I’m looking for.”
Of course, Saunders has made good on the attention that accompanied his entrance into the Bellator tournament, as the former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor has impressed in scoring victories over Chris Cisneros and most recently Luis Santos, en route to the tourney finals.
“He’s good on his feet, he’s good on the ground, and it’s going to be a great fight,” Lima said about Saunders (12-3-2). “I can’t wait. I think it’s going to be really exciting, we’re going to strike, if it goes to the ground there will be a lot of movement, I think we’re going to put on a really good show…No matter what I’m going to find a way to win the fight.”
Saunders aforementioned win over Santos has drawn a lot of praise from fans and critics, as the renowned striker demonstrated strong skills on the ground and tapped out the BJJ black belt with a second round, keylock.
“He looked good man,” Lima acknowledged. “People saw that Saunders isn’t just a striker. He showed that he can do a lot of damage on the ground; he’s got a great guard, rubber guard, it was a great fight.”
While Saunders semi-final win over Santos drew a lot of attention, so did Lima’s victory over Chris Lozano that same October 8th night. The American Top Team Atlanta fighter knocked out Lozano in the second round with a vicious right hand to extend Lima’s winning streak to eight.
“I’ve watched his fights before and I knew he was a great counter-boxer,” said Lima. “I knew that I couldn’t just stand in front of him and bang; I just had to pick my right shot. That’s really what we worked on and it worked out for me. First round I saw that I hurt him with the punches and in the second round it was just a matter of timing. I knew that he was going to leave himself open.”
The victory was Lima’s second in his last three outings to come via strikes, as the 23 year-old quickly stopped Terry Martin in the first round at MFC 29 in April. Prior to facing Martin, Lima’s submission skills had paved his way to the MFC championship, with tap-out wins coming over Ryan Ford and Jesse Juarez.
“Most definitely; people don’t know until they see,” said Lima, while discussing whether this latest victory will help spread the word about his stand-up skills. “I think it was a good win for me, to get one like that over a good striker. Lozano is a good boxer.”
“Nowadays everybody strikes good, everybody has good ground, it just goes to show that everyone is moving up,” Lima furthered. “It’s not just me, but everybody, you have to be prepared for everything and not underestimate anybody.”