Some MMA fans may have had to do a double take as they looked at the Bellator 117 card. That’s because the evening’s headliner will be for the Bellator welterweight title, but Ben Askren’s name isn’t a part of it.

Lima (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

Lima (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

Douglas Lima hopes to make the former welterweight champ a distant memory as he squares off with former Olympic judo competitor Rick Hawn. The Brazilian comes into the contest riding a four-fight winning streak. Lima stopped his opponents in all four of those wins. In fact, the last time Lima didn’t have his hand raised, it was in his last title bid.

“The loss to Askren taught me a lot,” Lima told The MMA Corner. “Not just about the wrestling game, but a lot. It’s made me a better fighter.”

The Brazilian will no doubt need those improved skills when he faces Hawn at Bellator 117. Hawn possesses some of the best amateur grappling credentials in Bellator, something not lost on his opponent.

“He’s a former Olympic athlete,” Lima said. “I respect the fact that he went through what it takes to make it at that level. But my coach knows how to avoid his judo game. Even if we do go to the ground, I have my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, so I’m not worried.”

Lima does hold a brown belt in BJJ, but we haven’t seen much grappling from Lima in his past few fights. All of his recent wins have come by knockout or TKO, including a stoppage due to leg kicks.

“Leg kicks are one of my biggest weapons. I’ve always loved kicking people,” Lima admitted. “I’m not worried about Hawn taking me down off a kick. I just know I need to do damage with my kicks.”

Doing damage is something do quite well. Although Hawn has dropped down to lightweight in the past, he owns knockouts in both divisions. Both guys have a penchant for standing and landing heavy blows, so fans should anticipate a firefight in the Bellator 117 main event.

Lima (L) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Lima (L) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

“I think if I land something, anyone is going down,” Lima said. “If you get hit just right, you’ll go down. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of the openings given to me.”

Regardless of how the fight turns out, odds are it won’t end in a chorus of boos from MMA fans. Lima is among the most exciting welterweights in the sport right now. He’s always looking for the finish and it shows with the intensity in which he throws his strikes.

“I don’t want to ever be labeled as a boring fighter,” Lima said. “It’s something that I concern myself about. I’m always working on being more explosive and looking forward to adding another finish to my record.”

Lima and Hawn will headline a card that features former welterweight title challenger Karl Amoussou, former UFC fighter Houston Alexander and Bellator mainstay Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, who recently stamped his ticket to the Bellator lightweight tournament semifinal in devastating fashion.

Lima would like to thank his coaches, training partners, management team, sponsors and everyone who has helped him on his journey. Follow Douglas on Twitter: @PhenomLima

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.