Douglas Lima has the opportunity tonight to become only the third fighter in Bellator history to win two Bellator tournaments as he meets Ben Saunders in the season eight welterweight tournament final.
Lima (24-5) won the season five tournament in 2011 and the only other fighters to win two tournaments inside Bellator are current middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko and featherweight champion Pat Curran.
This will be the second time that he will meet his fellow American Top Team fighter Ben Saunders as he defeated him in the season five tournament.
After being defeated by welterweight champion Ben Askren, Lima entered the season eight tournament and defeated Michail Tsarev and Bryan Baker to set up the rematch with Saunders.
It was originally scheduled to have the rematch between Lima and Saunders at the end of season eight but a hand injury to Lima forced the bout to be delayed until the Summer Series. Bellator announced the bout would take place at the end of July but once again, the fight was delayed as Lima suffered an injury to his ribs.
With Lima recovered from the rib injury, the bout will take place tonight at the Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix, Arizona and Lima admitted to TheMMAReport.com that there was frustrations with the injuries delaying the fight.
“A lot of frustration,” Lima said. “I was ready to fight him in March and now here we are in September. It was like a seven month layoff but it happens, it’s apart of fighting. There is a lot of training that we do. It takes a toll on your body, sometimes it happens and I am happy to come back. It’s been seven months and I’m happy to be back in there.”
While he recovered from his injuries, Lima made sure to not get out of shape and was walking around between 200-205 pounds. Once he recovered from the rib injury, he was able to get in an eight week training camp for tonight’s fight.
In the first meeting with Saunders, he was able to land a right hand that finished the fight. Saunders told TheMMAReport.com this week that he learned his lesson from that fight and Lima believes that his opponent tonight has not changed much since the first time they met.
“I don’t think that Ben has change much but he did get a lot better. It is not the same guy we fought but his style is still the same. He is very flashy with his strikes. He has great kicks, great knees, elbows, very length so it’s just something that we have prepared for and you have to be aware of all his best strikes, rubber guard and he is good from his back. We have prepared for everything. We are ready for him and whatever he brings.”
Earlier this week, Bellator released a quote from Saunders that he said that you can not fear Lima when you walk into the cage. Does Lima believe that he has faced fighters before that feared him and what he can do in the cage? He believes that he has felt fear from his opponents in the past.
“Sometimes I do because sometimes it depends on the guy, depends on how he fights usually and how he fights me different. I kind of see that there is what I may be able to call fear. I like that, good for me. I do feel that sometimes fighters feel that because I don’t know if they are worried about the power, the right hand or the kicks. Sometimes I do feel a little fear in them.”
A victory tonight for Lima could set up a rematch with Askren if he comes back to Bellator, but Lima is not worried about that as he is just worried about defeating Saunders tonight in the main event of Bellator 100.