Douglas Lima grew up in Brazil watching several Brazilian fighters experience tremendous success in the sport of MMA.
As a child, he idolized Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo and Wanderlei Silva.
“The first highlight I ever saw was from a Wanderlei fight, that’s what got me to start training,” Lima said. “He inspired me to get into the sport of MMA. To look back on that and now, I’m here fighting on the same card as him, it’s pretty special.”
For the first time in company history, Bellator is coming to the “world’s most famous arena.” Bellator NYC, a pay-per view event, will be headlined by Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
The main card also has two championship bouts, including one between Lima (28-6) and Lorenz Larkin (18-5). Lima, who currently holds the Bellator welterweight championship belt, says he is ready to defend his title on New York’s biggest stage.
“I feel great, I’m very excited,” Lima said. “I have always wanted to be a part of a huge event like this. It’s time to make history. They called me for this fight for a reason, and I am very focused. I’ve trained hard for this fight and I’m ready to go.”
The fight will be the second time in his career Lima (28-6, 10-2 Bellator) has attempted to defend the Bellator welterweight title, the first coming in 2015 with a decision loss to Andrey Koreshkov.
A year and a half later, the two fought again and Lima reclaimed his title.
“Koreshkov is a fighter at the top of our division,” Lima said. “He’s a really tough guy and my past fights with him have me feeling comfortable about this upcoming fight with Larkin. I’m 100-percent healthy and ready to display everything I’m able to do in the ring.”
Lima and Larkin are great strikers and many believe their match-up could be one of, if not, the most entertaining fight on the card. It marks the Bellator debut for Larkin (18-5-1), who fought in the UFC and Strikeforce before signing with Bellator. Lima hopes to end this fight in the first couple of rounds.
“I would characterize myself as a guy who likes to finish fights,” Lima explained. “In my opinion, a KO or submission is more convincing than winning by decision. About 85 percent of my wins are by finishes, either submission or knockout, and that is something that I take pride in.”
Lima has 13 wins by knockout or TKO and 11 by submission. He is confident heading into one of the biggest fights of his career.
Bellator NYC is an important event for the promotion. It’s in the No. 1 media market in the world, at an iconic venue and just its second pay-per-view event.
“Larkin is a good striker, you know that is the kind of fight I like to fight, I think we match up pretty well,” Lima said. “I think we are going to be the best fight of the night and we’re going to steal the show for sure.”