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Bellator 180: Douglas Lima has cure for insomnia ... and Lorenz Larkin is going get it

Douglas Lima

Bellator 180: “Sonnen vs. Silva” goes down inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., this Saturday night (June 24, 2017), which means it’s finally time for Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva to throw down after years of throwing verbal barbs and threats at each other dating back to their Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) days.

In addition, stepping into the spotlight at this huge pay-per-view (PPV) event is a dynamic Welterweight known as “The Phenom” Douglas Lima, who is known for soaking up Bellator’s spotlight, but not for talking much trash to his opponents. Indeed, saying someone has a “big mouth” is often as harsh as Lima gets. That’s because the two-time champion does a majority of the talking with his hands (13 knockouts) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (11 submissions). On the flip side, that’s not the case for Bellator newcomer Lorenz Larkin, who seems to be obsessing over Rory MacDonald even though it’s Lima he’ll face this weekend.

MMAmania.com recently spoke with the reigning and defending champion about his first fight since beating Andrey Koreshkov to regain the 170-pound title back in Nov. 2016 and introducing the latest UFC veteran, Larkin, to Bellator’s cage.

“It’s an awesome feeling. Can’t describe it, man. I can’t wait for this fight. I feel good! It’s a great opportunity for him and for myself and, yeah man, we’re gonna bang. I can’t wait for this fight — very excited for this title (fight), fighting the type of fighter that he is. I think we match up really good, we’re gonna deliver some bombs, man. And I can’t wait.”

It’s unsurprising that Larkin feels the same way and is just as eager to meet him at “The Garden.” Larkin has even promised they’ll have the most memorable fight of the PPV. And Lima shares that goal.

“For sure, it’ll happen ... it’ll happen for sure. This fight has everything to be the best fight of that card. People are gonna be talking about it.”

To get to this point, though, Lima had to first win back the belt he lost in 2015, and he’s clearly grateful that he got that opportunity in Israel last year.

“Oh man, it was amazing — such an awesome trip. We got the big finish, we got the title back, revenge for the last fight, everything was just amazing. We stayed for an extra two days, my dad came from Brazil to watch, so we spent some family time. It was just an awesome trip, it couldn’t happen in a better place, so here we are.”

For Lima there’s a strong sense of “deja vu at work now that he’s the champion again, right down to his brother Dhiego competing on The Ultimate Fighter for a second time.

“Definitely (history) repeating itself. It’s right when I got my belt that he was in The Ultimate Fighter last time, so yeah deja vu happening all over again, but this time for the better — for the best.”

Lima couldn’t give me any spoilers on whether or not Dhiego advances to the finals again (if in fact his brother even told him), but he seemed awfully confident that it was going that direction.

“Man, he’s looking good! That was such a tough fight against Gilbert Smith. A veteran, fought in Bellator before, UFC, so that’s a fantastic win for him. He’s looking good, he’s looking more experienced when he’s fighting so he’s got everything to win the show and I think he’s going to do it this time.”

Getting back to Larkin, though, I wanted Lima to give me his take on what his opponent’s biggest strength is heading into their title fight.

“The striking definitely, you know that’s his big thing. He’s a very good striker, got a lot of finishes, beat a lot of name guys. (I’m) taking this fight very seriously — I know what he brings. It’s a dangerous fight, not just for me, but for him as well. I’m very prepared. I trained everything for this fight, wrestling, you know I gotta get ready for that too just in case he shoots. Man, that was a very serious camp and I can’t wait to perform.”

Although Lima has more career fights (34 to Larkin’s 24), “Phenom” doesn’t assume an experience edge because he rates the caliber of Larkin’s competition so highly.

“I’ve got a lot more fights than him, but he also has the skill level of the fighters that he faced before kind of matches it up. He’s been fighting tough fights for a long time, you know what I mean? When I signed with Bellator, I was 15 or 16 fights (in), that’s when I really started fighting tougher opponents, you know? So I think he matches up pretty good, I think we’re evenly matched up on experience and everything else.”

Coming off a big win over Neil Magny in his last UFC fight, with four victories out of his last five, it would certainly be an error to not rate “The Monsoon” very highly.The only error, in fact, may be Larkin talking about “Red King” instead of Lima.

“That’s the question a lot of people ask, not only me, but I think him as well because MacDonald is that guy that everybody’s talking about, you know? It’s okay, I get that. He’s a big name. I’m looking forward to fighting him as well, but of course I’m focusing on Larkin right now, and I think he’s doing the same. I don’t think he’s looking past me ... that’d be a huge mistake.”

Whether Larkin is focused or not doesn’t make Lima any less confident that he’s going to do what he’s done in 24 out of his 28 fights — score a decisive finish. In fact, Lima has a prediction for the fight.

“We’re gonna catch him. We’re gonna catch him and he’s gonna sleep.”

Be sure to tune in to Bellator 180 this Saturday night to find out if Lima has some sleep-inducing NyQuil in store for Larkin.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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