While UFC 220 is dominating the attention of most MMA fans tonight, Bellator is also back in action, promoting one of its best shows to date in Bellator 192. In the co-main event of this stacked card, Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima attempted to defend his title against his fiercest adversary to date: former UFC welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald.
Round one began with MacDonald controlling the distance, backing the champion up with jabs and a head-kick. Midway through the first round the Canadian completed a takedown. From there, he sat in Lima’s guard, raining down ground-and-pound, but eating a few shots from the bottom in the process. Eventually, the referee stood the pair up with 10 seconds left in the round, but both survived to the bell.
The trend of MacDonald leading the dance continued in the second, though Lima began sneaking in jabs that immediately started marking up the Canadian’s face, and landing with some snapping kicks to the calf. After a brief stoppage due to a low-blow by MacDonald, the action resumed with MacDonald diving in on a single-leg, Lima denying his attempt, and a tie-up initiating on the cage. Once again, MacDonald got the better in this phase of the game, closing out the round with his opponent’s back mushed into the chainlink.
Things looked more promising for Lima at the start of round two, as he spun MacDonald around with yet another leg kick, and missed a rocket-fuelled uppercut by a hair. Unfortunately for him, MacDonald once again issued a tie-up and reclaimed control. From there, the Canadian completed another takedown, and rode out a massive chunk of the round inside the champ’s guard. As the round ended, however, Lima enjoyed his most successful moment of the fight, chopping his foe down with a hatchet-like leg kick.
Round four commenced with Lima denying a takedown attempt, and winding up on top of his challenger. By this point, MacDonald’s leg had become a battered and almost functionless slab of meat. Taking full advantage, Lima rained down ground and pound, while MacDonald attempted to hang on and avoid damage. Eventually, the referee stood the pair up again, at which point MacDonald initiated a tie-up against the cage once more. The challenger then closed out a very close round by completing a takedown, and doing a bit of damage from top position. He returned to his stool with a massive hematoma on his shin.
MacDonald wasted no time grounding the fight in the fifth. Though he was bleeding badly, he continued to land meaningful ground and pound on his opponent. Somewhere in the fracas, an elbow opened a massive cut on the champ’s forehead, which resulted in a classic Rory MacDonald bloodbath. From there, he rode out the entire round in top position, closing out this fun encounter with a volley of violent ground-and-pound.
RESULT: Though he was almost unrecognizable by the time the fight ended, a bruised and bloodied Rory MacDonald’s efforts ultimately earned him a unanimous decision win. He is now the Bellator welterweight champion.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/20/2018.