“The launch of Paramount Network in 2018 is an exciting next step for us,” says Bellator president Scott Coker. “Our fans will see the emphasis on big marquee events, and that all starts with this Lima vs. MacDonald title fight.”
The challenger, Rory MacDonald, recently joined Bellator after putting up an impressive run in the UFC, where he amassed a record of 9–4 and was considered a top contender. He debuted in Bellator with a win over Paul Daley by a rear-naked choke in May. Then he predicted he’d put away Douglas Lima in three rounds. “It will be a complete MMA fight from A to Z—striking on the feet and then on the ground with my submission game,” says MacDonald of the matchup. “I’m wide open to finishing him anywhere, and my main focus is to be the aggressor.”
Lima has been fighting in Bellator since 2011 and has won the welterweight championship twice, defending it successfully this summer. He admits that MacDonald is a pretty complete fighter, but says he will attack him with a mix of striking and wrestling. “[MacDonald] is a solid guy, but I think I’m better,” Lima says. “He’s got an off button somewhere, and for me it’s about finding the button and switching it off.”
During their first face-to-face encounter at the live Bellator 183 event in September, the two committed to an extended staredown that bodes well for the fight on Jan. 20, which some are saying should be one of the best in Bellator history.
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