Douglas Lima and Gegard Mousasi are set to fight for the vacant middleweight title at Bellator 243 on May 9.
Although it will be the first time they fight inside the cage the two sparred back in 2017 in the lead up to Mousasi’s fight against Alexander Shlemenko. In sparring, the Bellator welterweight champion admits he got beat up by Mousasi that day.
“I was training with my friend [Roberto] Soldic in Germany, and Mousasi goes there to spar every Saturday,” Lima told MMA Fighting. “[Mousasi] invited me to spar, and I accepted. I was completely out of shape and got beat up by everybody in the gym [laughs]. But it was great, it was quite interesting. They welcomed me really well there.
“I think I did one or two rounds of sparring with (Mousasi). It was alright because he saw I was very tired. That was two weeks before his fight with Shlemenko, so he was in shape and I was dead, so he beat me up [laughs].
“I respect him a lot, that entire team is great. Nothing against him. It’s going to be a great fight and I’m going after the knockout the entire time.”
Although Mousasi got the better of Lima back in 2017, the welterweight champ says Mousasi shouldn’t take that sparring session into consideration on fight night.
“If I were him I wouldn’t do that because this is a fight, you know?” Lima said. “He obviously took something from that, and so did I. I picked up a few things here and there. But it’s completely different now, I can guarantee you that. As we always say, training is different from fighting.”
Regardless, Douglas Lima is confident he will get his hand raised and says weight won’t be a factor.
“I don’t think the weight will play a big factor because I walk around 200 pounds,” Lima said. “The thing is, I have to show up and fight. I’m not even thinking about the weight, I’m focused on the fight. I think I’ll enjoy this division more because the weight cut will be easier.
“Rory himself said he didn’t show up to fight that time. I don’t know what happened. He always goes in and fights whoever, but he kind of froze against Mousasi. Maybe he felt the weight difference, the punching power, I don’t know. I don’t even watch that fight because it makes no difference. I know he moved up and things didn’t work out for him, but it will be different for me.”
In the end, Douglas Lima is confident he’ll get his hand raised and eyes a knockout win over Mousasi.
“I’m always going for the knockout but whatever it takes, man, I want to win,” Lima said. “I always want the finish. This matchup right there, I know it will happen.”