Douglas Lima is a master at rematches. A three-time Bellator MMA welterweight champion whose punches and kicks land with fight-ending power, he’s difficult enough to handle the first time you tussle with him. But if you find yourself facing Lima a second time? Watch out.
Lima was in his second reign at 170 pounds when he met Andrey Koreshkov in 2015. The belt changed hands that night, but a year later they were back in the cage together and, in the third round of a back-and-forth fight, Lima landed a counter left hook to knock Koreshkov out cold and win back the title.
Nearly two years after that, Lima and Koreshkov met yet again in the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix. The fight went to the fifth round, and Lima once again finished the Russian, this time rendering Koreshkov unconscious with a rear-naked choke.
Lima ended up in the final of that tournament. His opponent was Rory MacDonald, who by then was in possession of the welterweight title after having ended Lima’s reign by close decision in 2018. Their second meeting also went the distance, but this time Lima dominated MacDonald for five rounds to become a three-time champion.
And a three-time winner of Bellator rematches.
“You know a fighter a lot better when you fight him a second time,” said Lima, a 33-year-old Brazilian who has lived in the Atlanta area since he was a teen. “You know their strongest points and their weakest points. And, of course, you get to bring in new skills that you’ve worked on since the first fight. Rematches have gone well for me, and I hope to keep that going.”
Lima (32-9) will get a chance to do so on Friday in the main event of Bellator 267, when he faces Michael “Venom” Page (19-1) for the second time (Showtime, 1 p.m. ET)
There once again is a redemption angle for Lima — but this time it has nothing to do with the fight being a rematch. He won the first meeting with Page two years ago as part of the Grand Prix, scoring a second-round knockout. But after going on to beat MacDonald in the finale to regain the title, he fell short in his bid to become a two-division champion, losing to middleweight king Gegard Mousasi. Then, in June, Lima dropped his welterweight belt to Yaroslav Amosov.
So now Lima is an ex-champ trying to duplicate his performance against Page. And Page, too, will be looking to duplicate his own performance. Most of it, anyway.
While the Lima fight put the only blemish on Page’s career record, he does not view it as a total loss. “MVP” controlled most of the first round with his flashy striking, and early in Round 2 he staggered Lima with a punch. It was his reckless approach to trying to finish the fight that did Page in. As he was charging forward, Page got clipped by a low kick that put him off balance, followed by a winging right hand that ended his night.
Page takes solace in how the fight played out.
“For me, the positive is that what went wrong is something that I did badly instead of something that he did well,” Page said. “It was kinda one-sided up until what happened happened. Which is why I’m so confident going back in. It’s easier to correct things that you did than it is to try and overcome somebody that is just generally a better athlete than you. So I’m going in there to prove what I already know — that I am the better fighter.”
The 34-year-old London native will get to prove that in front of his hometown fans, as Bellator 267 will be at a packed Wembley Arena. Page has fought in London three times during his Bellator career and won them all by knockout.
“I’ve always blown the roof off the place,” he said, “and this one is going to be exactly that times a hundred, because of the story behind the fight. The fans were behind me when I lost, and now they’ll be here to spur me toward getting redemption.”
Lima is unconcerned that the rematch is in his opponent’s backyard. The one time he competed in London, in 2016, he defeated another popular Englishman, Paul Daley. “The English show me nothing but love,” he said. “I like the London crowd. They love fights.
“The cage is the same in whatever building it is,” he said. “The feeling is always the same. I’ve got to be focused on my opponent, not on what’s happening outside the cage.”
And if Lima maintains his focus and is successful in Friday’s rematch, he then will set his sights on what likely would be next: another rematch.
“Amosov, for sure, that’s what I want after this,” Lima said. “One seventy, that’s my weight class. I’ve got to win this fight, then go after the title. I’m here to be a champion. I don’t like the feeling of not having a belt around my waist.” Spoken like a three-time champ.
Here are the highlights: