As Bellator 100 approached on Sept. 20, 2013, and with it the final of the Bellator MMA Season 8 welterweight tournament, Douglas Lima found himself in familiar territory. The 25-year-old “Phenom” had won the Season 5 tournament the year before, earning a shot at the belt then held by Ben Askren, but had been thoroughly dominated by the ace wrestler for five rounds at Bellator 64. With a win in the Season 8 final, Lima would earn a rematch with Askren and another chance at the title.
Lima also found himself facing a familiar foe at Bellator 100: Ben Saunders, whom he had defeated at in the Season 5 final by third-round TKO. The lanky Floridian had been an exciting action fighter and fringe contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and had picked right back up in Bellator, racking up a 7-2 record with five finishes and losses only to Lima and Bryan Baker.
The Season 8 final was even more decisive than their first meeting. In the first round, Lima got the better of some furious striking exchanges at distance as well as in the clinch—where Saunders traditionally generated some of his most effective offense—and notably measured him for several head kicks. In the second round, Lima dropped “Killa B” with an uppercut and landed some effective ground-and-pound, swelling Saunders’ face badly. Shortly after they returned to their feet, Lima launched one more high kick. It landed flush, knocking Saunders out cold, and Lima was the Season 8 welterweight tournament champion.
The rematch with Askren never came, however. The undefeated champ, after a period of negotiation, signed with One Championship in November, where he continued his run of dominance. Lima would instead face Rick Hawn for the vacant title the following April at Bellator 117.