Douglas Lima Says He’ll “Finish It” if Ben Askren Leaves Opening
By Kelsey Mowatt
If you had asked many fans and pundits a few weeks ago, who would be the next man to fight for Bellator’s welterweight championship, it’s likely many would have responded with the name Ben Saunders. After all, not only was the UFC vet the biggest name to compete in the promotion’s recent welterweight tournament, but Saunders impressed many with his tourney wins over Chris Cisneros and Luis Santos.
Of course, in the end, it was rising welterweight Douglas Lima who stole the show, by recording back-to-back, knockout victories over Chris Lozano and then finally Saunders. If there were any doubts as to whether the former Maximum Fighting Championship title holder is in fact one of Bellator’s fastest rising prospects, there should be far less now.
“It’s one of the best things to happen to me,” Lima told FCF recently, while discussing his tournament cinching win over Saunders. “It started to sink in as soon as they raised my hand man; it came quick. I’m just really happy.”
“Ben is a fantastic fighter and has a big name,” Lima added. “I’m just happy that I could finish a guy like that. My main goal in that fight was to finish it, as I don’t think Ben’s been finished before. I’m glad everything worked out, especially against a tough fighter like him.”
With the win, the 23 year-old Lima extended his win streak to nine and collected $100,000 for his efforts, further enhancing what was unquestionably his biggest win to date.
“Winning the money is a really big thing,” Lima said. “The money is really going to help me out with my training; I don’t have to work as much and can focus on training, not worry about the bills so much. Everything is going to be better; a lot better.”
While Lima finished Saunders off in highlight reel fashion, by dropping the highly regarded fighter with a hard right hand and closing with follow up punches, the first round didn’t end favorably for the ATT Atlanta fighter.
“I think I did okay except for the first round where he swept me and landed in full mount,” said Lima, when asked to evaluate his performance. “I was pretty mad about that but other than that, everything went good.”
“I knew the round was about to finish,” Lima added while discussing Saunders securing full mount. “I knew I had to stay calm and not give up my back; that would have been worse. My coaches were telling me what time was left. They’ve taught me how to defend myself good…I train in positions like that everyday in the gym.”
Now, Lima will take some time to rest and relax, before he begins preparations for what will be his next challenge, Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren. According to Lima, the promotion has informed him that he will likely face the accomplished wrestler and undefeated fighter sometime in March or April.
“When you fight a guy like that you have to have good takedown defense,” said Lima. “That’s going to be his main weapon. I’m going to work on my wrestling the most, but of course, I’m going to work on my striking and jiu-jitsu too.”
“I know at some point, especially in a five rounder, I’m going to get taken down,” Lima furthered. “I know how good he is at wrestling, so I’m going to be on my back at some point, so my jiu-jitsu is going to have to be on point…If I see an opening standing I’m going to connect and finish it. I’m really looking forward to it.”