Bellator 117: Douglas Lima Plans to Get Title And “Defend it Forever”, Says he “Can’t Hate” on Ben Askren
By Kelsey Mowatt
When Douglas Lima battles Rick Hawn on April 18th, just over two years will have gone by since “The Phenom” challenged Ben Askren for the Bellator welterweight title in 2012. Although Lima was unable to hand the decorated wrestler his first defeat that night, the ATT Atlanta fighter clearly didn’t let the loss set him back very far.
Since the defeat not only has Lima scored four straight victories, but at Bellator 100 he KO’d Ben Saunders to win his second welterweight tourney. As a result, Lima’s second title shot is right around the corner, and the noted finisher can’t wait.
“That’s the thing that I’m wishing for the most right now man; I can’t stop thinking about that title,” Lima relayed on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio. “I had the chance before, like you said, a little over two years, so it’s been a while.”
Lima stopped Michail Tsarev and knocked out Bryan Baker to advance to his aforementioned bout with Saunders in September. Hawn, on the other hand, won Bellator’s most recent tourney in November by taking out Ron Keslar, after earning decision wins over Brent Weedman and Herman Terrado. Since Askren has now departed for ONE FC, Lima and Hawn will fight for the vacant belt at Bellator 117.
“All this time has just been preparation,” Lima noted. “I got good wins, four finishes, and I hope to get the fifth one in a row you know? I want another finish in this fight and I’m training hard for that, and just keep going. The ultimate goal is that belt. So get it and defend it forever.”
Due to the impressive run Lima’s been on, for some time, a rematch with Askren seemed inevitable. Now that Askren’s set to compete overseas for the foreseeable future, however, Lima won’t have an opportunity to avenge that loss anytime soon.
“Well, kind of, maybe a little bit,” said Lima, when asked if he’s disappointed about the fact Askren is no longer with Bellator. “I wanted a chance to get that loss out of my way, but it’s all good, it wasn’t my fault he left. What can I do? I’m just there to fight. I’m finally getting another chance to fight for the belt, so it really doesn’t matter who it is, as long as I get the title at the end of the day. That’s all that matters to me.”
Bellator’s welterweight division is entering a new era, as although Askren was a dominant champion, the 29 year-old was often criticized for his stifling top game.
“Some people think it’s boring, but man, the guy’s really effective,” Lima said about “Funky”, when asked if the former champ has been unfairly judged by his critics. “He showed that just by his record itself. The guy’s undefeated and he’s beaten a lot of the top guys, but whatever; people are going to talk…He’s winning, he’s undefeated, so you can’t hate on the guy. He beat me before. He pretty much controlled me for five rounds.”
Bellator 117 will be hosted by the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa on April 18th.
Stay tuned for another article featuring Lima’s thoughts on Hawn’s abilities and the upcoming title fight.