Douglas Lima feels confident about his chances at capturing Bellator 170-pound gold. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
When Douglas Lima faces Rick Hawn for Bellator’s vacant welterweight title on Friday night, “The Phenom” will be treading on familiar ground.
Lima previously challenged then-champion Ben Askren for the belt back in 2012, coming up short in a one-sided unanimous decision defeat. Now, with the wrestling ace no longer sitting atop the Bellator welterweight mountain, Lima will have a second chance to hoist the gold when he meets Hawn in the Bellator 117 headliner at the Amway Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
“I feel a lot better [than in my first title shot]. I did a much longer camp. I just feel more prepared,” Lima recently told Sherdog.com. “I’m doing the weight cut better, so I think that’s going to help. It’s a five-round fight, so you’ve got to be ready and prepare for the worst. This is something that I’ve wanted ever since I signed with Bellator.”
Lima has battled multiple injuries during his seven-year career, most significantly breaking his powerful right hand three times. The most recent break occurred in his last fight, which ended in a violent knockout of Ben Saunders last September in the delayed Season 8 tournament final.
“I waited six weeks before the surgery and then waited another six weeks for [my hand] to heal, and then I started training,” said Lima. “I removed the pins in my last surgery, and it’s stronger now. I did the whole camp and didn’t feel [any pain]. I took very good care of it, and I don’t think it’s going to break again.”
With a victory over Hawn, Lima would no longer be forced to fight through Bellator’s rigorous tournament schedule -- a perk that Lima would welcome, both because of his injury woes and the inherent difficulty of cutting weight three times in as many months.
“Going through that tournament is hard. I do cut a lot of weight in between fights. Doing it every four weeks was really hard,” said Lima. “The goal now is to get that title. To fight [once] every three months is going to be a lot easier on my body.”
In Hawn, Lima faces an Olympic judoka who has competed successfully at both 155 and 170 pounds. Though Hawn will likely enter the cage as the smaller man on Friday, he will nevertheless wield dangerous power in his right hand -- a fact of which Lima is acutely aware.
“I think [my size] will be an advantage, but I’m not really concentrating on that, because he’s been doing very [well] against welterweights, even though he’s smaller,” said Lima. “He’s a smart fighter and always comes with a good strategy. He’s undersized, but at the end of the day, sometimes that doesn’t make a difference. He’s got power in his hands, and he’s got a lot of knockouts. I’ve got to watch out for that.”
Regardless of how the fight plays out on Friday, Lima said he will be ready to battle both standing and on the mat to win the title he covets. However, even if he accomplishes his goal and takes the belt home, “The Phenom” is not ruling out a possible move to middleweight down the road.
“I don’t know the future,” said Lima. “I’m still growing, so I’ve been thinking a lot about a move up to middleweight. We’ll see what happens after a couple more fights.”