The finals of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix took place on Saturday with familiar faces meeting in the Bellator 232 main event. Welterweight champion Rory MacDonald faced former titleholder Douglas Lima at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. in a rematch with the 170-pound championship on the line. MacDonald captured the Bellator MMA welterweight belt by defeating Lima at Bellator 192 in January 2018. On Saturday, Lima got his revenge.
In the opening round, Lima delivered leg kicks while fending off takedown attempts from MacDonald. MacDonald was able to get Lima against the cage, but was unable to inflict any damage. In the second frame, Lima pressed forward landing punches. He began to put together combinations while defending MacDonald’s takedown attempts.
MacDonald aggressively looked to get the fight to the ground in the third round, but Lima’s takedown defense rose to the challenge. Unable to put Lima on his back, MacDonald was forced to exchange on his feet. As the fight entered the championship rounds, the damage from Lima’s leg kicks was adding up. Heading into the final round, MacDonald needed to do something big to win the fight.
MacDonald secured a takedown but ended up on the bottom during the scramble that ensued. He delivered punches while MacDonald searched for a submission. With a minute remaining, MacDonald reversed Lima and gained top position. MacDonald opened up with his punches but Lima avoided taking significant damage and the fight was left in the hands of the judges. All three judges scored the fight for Lima by unanimous decision. With the win, Lima won back the 170-pound belt, took home the Welterweight Grand Prix title, and banked a $1 million payday.
“It’s been a long road, but we did it,” said Lima following the win. “Rory’s tough a nails. All hats off to him. He’s a warrior. I wanted to share the cage with him one more time, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot. I should have been more active with the hands and kicks, but he was moving so much and it was hard to catch him. Another tough fight.”
In the co-main event, Saad Awad returned to the welterweight division to take on dangerous striker Paul Daley on short notice after Daley’s original opponent was forced off the fight card. On six-days notice, Awad stepped up but was unable to withstand Daley’s striking.
In the opening round, Awad looked to get the fight to the ground but Daley fended off the takedown attempts. Daley stalked Awad and landed punches and leg kicks while Awad answered with right hands.
In the second frame, Daley crumbled Awad with a left hook and finished with follow-up hammer fists on the ground. Following the fight, Daley said that he doesn’t have many fights left and expressed his desire for his next fight to be in his home country of England.
“I knew he as a tough guy but the thing that was always going to make the difference was that he’s a big 155er. I’m a small 170, but I’ve fought my whole career at 170 against these big, strong guys. This was a catchweight which makes it even worse, so I only had to land once,” said Daley following the TKO win.
“I’d like my next fight to be in London,” he added. “Get a few more fights back home before I hang it up. I’m getting old. We’ll see what’s going to happen but I definitely want my next fight to be in England.”
Bellator 232: MacDonald vs. Lima Results:
– Douglas Lima def. Rory MacDonald by unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45)
– Paul Daley def. Saad Awad by TKO (punches) at 1:30, R2
– Patrick Mix def. Isiah Chapman by submission (kneebar) at 3:49, R1
– Manny Muro def. Nick Newell by split decision (29-28, 27-29, 29,28)
– Kevin Ferguson Jr. def. Craig Campbell by KO (elbows and punches) at 0:38, R1
Preliminary Card Results
– Ryan Hardy Evans def. Demetrios Plaza by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:03, R3
– Lance Gibson Jr. def. Dominic Jones by TKO (punches) at 1:58, R1
– Devin Powell def. Marcus Surin by submission (guillotine choke) at 5:00, R2
– Johnny Lopez def. Dan Cormier by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
– Jornel Lugo def. John Douma by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
– Zarrukh Adashev def. Tevin Dyce by TKO (punches) at 1:39, R2