Bellator 232 “MacDonald vs. Lima 2” took place Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The finals of the year long Welterweight Grand Prix saw champion Rory MacDonald (21-5-1) put his title on the line in a rematch with Douglas Lima (31-7).
A close first round had very little action and a lot of booing. The second frame went solidly to Lima, who was landing his right hook and snapping MacDonald’s head back with his left jab, all while MacDonald found himself unable to get any takedowns again and again.
MacDonald continue to be ineffective in the standup and unable to secure a takedown, and Lima made him pay with repeated left jabs that as John McCarthy quipped “snapped his head back like a Pez dispenser.” At this point Lima was up at least two rounds, possibly all three, heading into the so-called “championship rounds” of the rematch.
The fourth round was Lima’s best yet. He repeatedly punished Rory’s left leg with kicks, nailed him in the head when he stuffed a takedown, and dominated the stand-up decisively. MacDonald was in a huge hole going into R5. He did nothing to dig himself out in the final five minutes. Lima swept a takedown early with ease, only gave up top position in the last minute, and MacDonald landed no major damage with that advantage.
The judges returned a verdict of 49-46, 50-45 X2 all for “The Phenom” Douglas Lima. He got the one million dollar check, the grand prix title, the Welterweight world title, a hug from 50 Cent and a post fight interview with John McCarthy.
“First of all I just want to thank God for this victory, for this platform, for everybody. Man it’s been a long road but we did it. Shoot, Rory, tough as nails, hat’s off to him. I wish him nothing but the best. He’s a family man, he’s a great man, so much respect. Heart! The meaning of that man is heart. I picked that up from the first time we fought. I learned so much from him. I’m happy for that. Man, he wouldn’t slow down. He kept coming! I had to stay strong and defend all those shots. He reversed me in the end. That jab on the nose in the fifth round did some damage. It’s a tough fight, he’s a tough warrior. I feel like I improved a lot. He moved so much it was hard to catch him.”
Also fighting at Welterweight on Saturday were “Semtex” Paul Daley (41-17-2) and long time Bellator veteran Saad Awad (23-12).
The first round was fairly close until Daley hurt Awad with a reverse elbow, though Awad did get one back when Daley was pounding on him from behind. The failed takedown attempts for Awad had as much to do with the 10-9 for Daley as anything else. 90 seconds later in round two Daley blasted him with a left hand and finished with a couple of hammers on the ground before the fight was waved off by technical knockout. He spoke to John McCarthy about his big win in the co-main event.
“First of all I want to send my love back home to England to my children. This 33rd knockout was for you. I knew he was a tough guy but the thing that was always going to make the difference is he’s a big 155er but I’m a small 170er and I only had to land once and it’s over. I just want to keep fighting. I’d like my next fight in London, don’t know if I’d be ready for November, but I want to get a few fights back home before I hang it up. Definitely I want my next fight to be in England.”
The undefeated Patrick Mix (11-0) was looking to stay that way, but late replacement opponent Isaiah Chapman (9-3) hoped to score a major upset in Uncasville. Mix was on point from the beginning to the end though, scoring a takedown early and riding every time Chapman tried to roll or stand up. Here’s a taste of how the SLAM looked.
Eventually Mix got a Suloev stretch (incorrectly called a knee bar) at 3:49 of R1 for the tap. He spoke to John McCarthy afterward with a bottle of 50 Cent’s champagne in hand.
“It’s only been hit four times, it’s my second one. I need a bonus for that! I’m a kid that comes from nothing with an opportunity to make everything. Jackson-Wink, my friends, my family, I don’t care what’s next, Bellator’s gonna hear what’s next!”
Also on the card was a bout between “Notorious” Nick Newell (16-2) and a fighter named Manny Muro (10-6). Muro was in trouble in the first round when Newell trapped his head and tried to squeeze out a choke, but Muro dropped down to survive. He still got dominated in all positions on the ground until 14 seconds left in R1, giving up a 10-9 to Newell.
Muro was more effective for the next five minutes, blocking takedowns and blasting Newell with right hands on the feet. It wasn’t a dominant round but it arguably tied things up at one frame apiece. Newell had his moments though as seen below.
Muro dominated the third frame by taking Newell down repeatedly and stifling any chance he had to generate offense, riding his back and making Newell carry his weight any time he stood back up.
The judges scored this fight 29-28 Muro, 29-27 Newell, 29-28 for Muro by split decision. As the Connecticut crowd poured on the boos, Muro talked about the near sub in round one.
“Nah. It was tight. Hey hold on. Hey. Props to Nick Newell. He’s a competitor. OKLAHOMA!!! The only thing that motivated me is I wanted a contract. Rich, Scott, I hope I did enough to earn it. That’s my goal. I’m doing this for my native people, my faith in God. I love it. Bring it!”
Kevin Ferguson Jr. (3-2) faced Craig Campbell (3-3) at 160 lbs. in a late addition to the card.
It only took “Baby Slice” 38 seconds to pound on Campbell’s head for what at first appeared to be a TKO win when he made an ill-advised attempt to grab a leg. Ferguson spoke to John McCarthy afterward.
“I tried to beat A.J. (McKee)’s record! First and foremost I have to give thanks to the creator. I was throwing a couple of leg kicks, I heard Antonio saying take your time and I relaxed. I threw another leg kick and he caught it, I knew I was going to throw elbows, thank you Jesus. The referee said watch out so then I went to the hammerfists.”
Unfortunately for Ferguson this result was ultimately overturned to a no contest when the commission ruled he had used illegal strikes.
For complete Bellator 232 results and coverage click here.