Douglas Lima announced earlier this week that he had suffered another injury and that his season eight welterweight tournament final bout against Ben Saunders was off the Bellator 97 card on July 31st.
Lima and Saunders were initially scheduled to face each other in late March in the tournament final but Lima was unable to fight due to a hand injury he suffered in his semifinal win over Bryan Baker.
Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the injury to TheMMAReport.com and he is hopeful that this fight will happen in the fall.
“I hope is that we can do it in the fall,” Rebney said. “Lima was a rockstar for us in terms of staying healthy and being able to fight consistently and of course he got injured. He hurt the hand in the Baker fight, so we could not do Saunders at the end of last season and now he is injured again. It’s an injury that he and his management are telling us that will probably make him unable to fight until the middle of the fall, which will be right dead center of our season.”
Rebney has spoke with Saunders about the fight being pushed back once again and feels for the American Top Team fighter. With the fight being delayed for a second time, Bellator sent a check to Saunders to help him out since he will not be able to fight until later this year.
“I have talked to Ben and we were able to get a check out to Ben to keep him float and keep him above water and moving. I just feel bad for Ben Saunders. He has been in training camp now for this particular fight for literally months and months. Two times back to back and Lima got hurt. It’s the nature of the game. I feel bad for Lima as well but I feel bad for Ben and I hope we get it done mid fall.”
When Lima and Saunders finally have their rematch, the winner of the fight will secure the next welterweight title shot and will face either Bellator champion Ben Askren or Andrey Koreshkov. Askren and Koreshkov will meet in the co-main event of Bellator 97 on July 31st in New Mexico and both fighters will enter the fight undefeated.