Rivalries: Douglas Lima

By Brian Knapp Jun 1, 2021

Douglas Lima long ago established himself as one of the crown jewels of the Bellator MMA organization.

The 33-year-old Brazilian will defend his undisputed welterweight championship against the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov in one of the year’s most anticipated battles, as the two men are scheduled to exchange pleasantries in the Bellator 260 headliner on June 11 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Lima has rattled off 20 wins across his past 24 appearances—a run of sustained excellence that has made him one of the sport’s top fighters at 170 pounds. He last competed at Bellator 250 on Oct. 29, when he dropped a unanimous decision to current middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi and failed in his bid to become a simultaneous two-division titleholder.

As Lima prepares for his confrontation with Amosov, a look at a few of the rivalries that have helped shape his remarkable career:

Ben Askren

Askren did what Askren does best, and Lima was powerless against it. The four-time NCAA All-American wrestler utilized takedowns, his uncanny scrambling ability and a suffocating top game, as he retained his Bellator MMA welterweight crown with a one-sided unanimous decision over Lima in the Bellator 64 main event on April 6, 2012 at Caesars in Windsor, Ontario. Booed lustily by fans who desired more action on the feet, Askren swept the scorecards by identical 50-45 counts. Outside of a few right hands, sporadic punches from the bottom, occasional submission attempts and a slick first-round sweep, Lima did little of note from an offensive standpoint. At the end of two rounds, he looked lost and discouraged, his considerable repertoire utterly neutralized by an Olympic-caliber wrestler. Askren struck for takedowns in all five rounds, tagged the American Top Team representative with punches, hammerfists and elbows from inside his guard and scrambled away from danger whenever it surfaced. He tried to finish Lima with a third-round brabo choke but released the hold when it became clear it would not be successful, settling back into his routine and cruising to another decision.

Andrey Koreshkov

“The Phenom” closed the book on his trilogy with Koreshkov in decisive fashion, as he throttled him unconscious with a rear-naked choke in the fifth round of their Bellator 206 co-feature on Sept. 29, 2018 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. Lima—who had split his first two meetings with the Russian at Bellator 140 and Bellator 164—finished it 3:04 into Round 5. Koreshkov never seemed comfortable, and after a tepid first round, his Brazilian rival seized control with his polished, well-rounded skills. Heavy kicks to the body and legs, airtight takedown defense and clean punching combinations provided Lima with a significant lead entering the fifth round. There, he marched down a fading Koreshkov with punches, sprawled on a desperation takedown, wheeled around to his back and cinched the choke, tightening his squeeze until the Alexander Shlemenko protégé lost consciousness.

Michael Page

Page thought he had Lima right where he wanted him. He could not have been more mistaken. Lima punched—and quite literally so—his ticket to the Bellator MMA welterweight grand prix final, as he knocked out the previously unbeaten London Shootfighters star in the second round of their Bellator 221 co-main event on May 11, 2019 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Page hit the deck in an unconscious heap 35 seconds into Round 2, substance having conquered style. After a cautious first round from both men, chaos ensued. Page clipped the Atlanta-based Brazilian with a right hand to the temple that shook his equilibrium and resulted in his hitting the reset button. Lima countered the oncoming Brit with a powerful leg kick that swept him off of his feet and then blasted the karateka with an uppercut as he tried to stand. Page folded and landed face up on the canvas, where he was met with hammerfists before referee Mike Beltran could arrive on the scene.

Rory MacDonald

A punishing jab, well-timed takedowns and sublime takedown defense carried the Atlanta-based Brazilian to a unanimous decision over MacDonald in the Bellator 232 headliner on Oct. 26, 2019 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Lima swept the scorecards in the Bellator welterweight grand prix final and became a three-time champion at 170 pounds, eliciting 49-46, 50-45 and 50-45 marks from the judges. MacDonald seemed tentative and unsure of himself for much of the match, perhaps a residual effect from his first encounter with “The Phenom” at Bellator 192 a little less than two years prior—a fight he won but a fight in which Lima’s crushing kicks exacted a serious toll on the Canadian’s lead leg. Lima picked up steam with each passing round, leaned on his jab, continued to blast the Tristar Gym export with leg kicks and shut down his repeated bids for takedowns. He knocked down MacDonald with a leg kick in the fifth round, scrambled into top position and cut loose with ground-and-pound. The Firas Zahabi disciple sprang a reversal on Lima in the final minute but could not muster the finish he needed to erase the deficit on the scorecards.
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