The Bellator welterweight grand prix is coming to an end this Saturday at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut with the champion, Rory “Red King” MacDonald, colliding with Douglas “The Phenom” Lima in the finals with the welterweight title and a million dollars on the line. The reigning champion, MacDonald, is a +130 underdog to retain his belt with the challenger and former champion, Lima, coming back as a -160 favorite to recapture the strap.
Lima has been a dog in three of his last four fights but was a sizable favorite in seven of his prior eight, the only exception being his rematch with Andrey Koreshkov. In the welterweight grand prix semifinal, The Phenom was a modest -295 favorite over unbeaten Michael Page, and he earned a second-round knockout win.
MacDonald has been favored in all four of his Bellator welterweight fights, though he closed as a dog when he moved up to middleweight to fight then-champion Gegard Mousasi. Red King is 3-0-1 in the welterweight division in Bellator and he was 9-4 in the UFC and was favored in all 13 of those bouts. MacDonald faced adversity in the Sportsbook round of the Bellator welterweight grand prix, scoring a majority draw decision that allowed him to move on past Jon Fitch.
MacDonald vs Lima Fight Analysis
MacDonald is a well-rounded fighter who has more of an emphasis on his wrestling game than his striking attack. That being said, his striking shouldn’t be underestimated as he constantly stalks forward and reads his opponent’s movements well, looking for opportunities to let his hands go. If he feels any pressure, he will fall back on his wrestling and try to bring the fight to the canvas. Additionally, Red King has tremendous heart and durability, having been in some wild wars with former UFC champion Robbie Lawler and in his first fight with Douglas Lima as well.
Lima is also a world-class, well-rounded competitor who is more of a striker than a grappler. The Phenom is most dangerous when he is at a longer distance where he can utilize his quick and powerful kicks. The Brazil native’s kicks will often provide opportunities to let his hands fly when his opponents start to try to defend against the kick or flinch when he fakes them. Furthermore, his grappling skills are also quite good both defensively and offensively, but again striking is his bread and butter.
These two went to war for five rounds in January 2018 with the Red King walking – or should I say limping – away with a unanimous-decision victory. Lima battered MacDonald’s lower left leg with kicks and dropped him in the third round because of it. However, Rory switched stances in the fourth and secured takedowns to get the win. MacDonald has hinted at retirement and that he had lost his drive, but he has backed off that statement and said he’s reinvigorated; that could be why we see him as an underdog in this fight. If Lima can chew up that lead leg again, he could reclaim his belt, while if MacDonald can utilize his wrestling again, it will be him holding the gold.
Prediction: Rory MacDonald (+130) via decision
Odds as of October 23 at Sportsbook