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Bellator Champ Douglas Lima Talks Expectations for First Title Defense, Scott Coker Era, and One Night Tournaments

Brice Schroeder

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I had the opportunity to talk to Bellator’s welterweight champion Douglas Lima ahead of his first title defense at Bellator 140 this Friday night. The champ spoke on several different subjects including his opponent Andrey Koreshkov.

“He is very explosive, very fast you know?” explained Lima, “He is a good fighter and we match up very well.  I am ready for whatever he brings whether it goes to the ground wrestling or standing up.  I’m just ready wherever the fight takes place.  I’m not really concerned, just ready to go.”

Lima also went into his preparation in the final days of training for the Russian Striker.

“Training has been going really good.  I’m just working on cutting weight and maintaining so I am ready to go this weekend.  I am ready to fight hard for five rounds so the main thing is watching my weight and not getting injured.  I finished my last sparring session last week so I am being very careful now.  The hard training is already done so for now it’s just cutting weight and maintaining.  That’s the goal for now.”

Lima was sidelined with injuries for over a year following his title win over Rick Hawn at Bellator 117.  He spoke on just how frustrating it is being out for so long.

“It was very frustrating having these injuries back to back, but I have put that behind me and I am focusing on this fight and focusing on staying ready.  I can’t wait for the fight.”

Bellator president Scott Coker has been at the helm for over a year now and has sent Bellator in a different direction. Lima had rave reviews for his new boss when asked about the new direction of the company.

“Ah it’s amazing, it’s amazing!  He is doing a great job as a promoter here.  I have met him a couple times and he is a great guy.  All the shows look amazing and I am happy to be part of it.  Especially being the main event I am very excited and can’t wait to showcase my skills and give a great fight to the fans.”

One of the new wrinkles brought about by the “Coker Era,” is a hybrid show with Glory Kickboxing featuring a one-night, four-man, light-heavyweight tournament reminiscent of the early UFC and Pride days.  When asked if he would ever consider fighting multiple times in a night, he showed little hesitation.

“Oh yeah! That is something I’ve always wanted to do, have two or three fights in one night you know?  I’m not sure if it’s something they will do with me since I am the champion, but I would be happy to get in there.  It’s gonna be a good show with kickboxing and MMA in the same night.  I will be there watching for sure so I am very excited about it.”

Another change since Coker has taken over is doing away with the old tournament format.  Douglas worked his way to two title fights through the old tournament system and is not sad to see them go by the wayside.

“Yeah I am happy they are gone.  I’m glad I did it and I won it twice which is good, but I would never look forward to doing another one at 170 pounds.  You know cutting weight every month was very hard on my body.  I would rather do it all in one night like they are planning on now instead of every month like before.  It was a great experience for me and I am happy I went through it and won the title.  But I am happy to see it go.”

The first of those tournament victories led to a title fight against the fan polarizing Ben Askren.  Askren was able to come out victorious and gave Lima his only loss in his last 15 fights.  When asked if that fight still bothered him he was quick to point out he has put it behind him.

“I’m passed that man.  He is no longer in Bellator so I can’t really think about him anymore.  I just hate how a lot of people, they comment a lot about that.  They say he left the champion so I’m not the real champion, blah blah blah.  That is something I have to deal with, but other than that I am good.  I am just here to fight whoever Bellator puts in front of me.  I am past that loss and I learned a lot from it.”

Looking at several different media outlet’s welterweight rankings, Douglas is usually just on the outskirts of the top 10.  I asked if he believes he is a top 10 fighter and if he gets the respect he deserves from the public, he said the following.

“I believe I am a top 10 fighter.  Some rankings have me there, but others have me right outside, maybe 12th or 13th.  You know I’m really just here to fight.  Whoever moves me up the ranks, that’s who I want to fight.  I’m just here to fight and hopefully get my name in the top 10.  I just have to keep winning, keep moving on up.”

Finally, the champ was able to cut a quick promo and let the fans know just what to expect for Friday night’s main event.

“I hope everyone catches the fight, you know it’s going to be explosive.  I’ll be looking for the knockout at all times and the submission as well.  Thank you to all the fans for their support.  Don’t miss this fight because it’s going to be a great one, a possible fight of the year.  I’m ready to go and I am just happy to compete again finally.”

Be sure to check out the champ this Friday July 17th at Bellator 140 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville Connecticut.  The main card will be televised on SPIKE TV at 9 p.m. ET.

You can follow Douglas Lima on twitter @PhenomLima

Be sure to follow @MMALatestNws and visit MMALatestNews.com for updates on Bellator 140 and all of your MMA needs.

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Watch: Bellator 185 Prelims

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Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Complete Bellator 185: Mousasi vs. Shlemenko Fight Card:

Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)

Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)

Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)

Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card:

Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)

Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)

150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)

Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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