12 May - 
Bellator 221: MacDonald or Gracie? It doesn't matter to Douglas Lima – mostly

ROSEMONT, Ill. – Now that Douglas Lima has punched his ticket – literally – to another crack at the welterweight title, he doesn’t care who he has to beat to get his belt back.

Well, mostly.

Lima (31-7 MMA, 13-3 BMMA) on Saturday handed Michael Page (14-1 MMA, 10-1 BMMA) the first loss of his career with a highlight-reel knockout in the second round of the DAZN-streamed Bellator 221 co-main event at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., near Chicago.

After taking Page right off his feet with a hard kick to the left leg, Lima timed a perfect right hand while Page was trying to stand back up, and that was all she wrote. The win came in the semifinals of Bellator’s ongoing welterweight grand prix tournament and sent former champion Lima into the final, likely for early fall, where he’ll meet the winner of champ Rory MacDonald (20-5-1 MMA, 2-1-1 BMMA) and Neiman Gracie (9-0 MMA, 7-0 BMMA), who fight next month at Bellator 222.

“Right now, I feel that was the biggest highlight of my career,” Lima told MMA Junkie after the fight. “That was the biggest fight that I’ve been in. I said it before – I was going to finish it. I went in there and executed. I’m really happy with my performance, and I’m moving on to the finals.

“I got caught with some good shots, as well. He was very fast in the beginning. But I knew there was a moment in the fight I was going to connect and finish it.”

If Lima had his druthers, he’d fight MacDonald in the final. After all, MacDonald is who beat him at Bellator 192 in January 2018 to win the title in just his second Bellator fight after spending years in the UFC.

Avenging that loss is on Lima’s mind, for sure. But the bigger priority is becoming champion again – even if that means he has to take out a fellow Brazilian in Gracie, part of MMA’s most legendary family of all time.

“Honestly, I need the belt,” Lima said. “That’s what I want, that’s what I’m going to get. If it’s Rory, even better – of course, I lost that close decision to him. I definitely want to get that back. But it really doesn’t matter to me. The goal here is to get the belt back – finish another fight and get that belt.

“If I were to choose, of course I would say Rory – a bigger fight, a guy that has a win over me. Let’s see what happens when they fight in June. I can’t wait to fight the winner.

“I just don’t want the Gracies to hate me when I beat him. I’m pretty cool with most of them. That’s the only thing that I think about: ‘Man, if I beat this guy, they’re all going to hate me.’ But it’s the fight game. The Gracies are big, and I’ve got a lot of respect for all of them, of course. … But if we’ve got to fight, I’ve got to win.”

For more from Lima, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of Bellator 221, check out the MMA Events section of the site.