Voting is now open for the 12th annual World MMA Awards. Head here to vote for your favourite fighters and MMA personalities.
Fighters Only has extended the nomination period from 12 months to 18 months (1st January 2019 – 30th June 2020) to best account for all global MMA action and performances.
The star-studded, black-tie 2020 World MMA Awards event will be held in October 2020 on a date and location to be announced.
In the lead-up to the big show, we are profiling each of the 12th annual World MMA Awards nominees.
Douglas Lima is nominated for the Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Fighter of the Year in the 12th annual World MMA Awards.
Like his moniker would suggest, Douglas Lima had a phenomenal 2019.
“The Phenom” only fought twice that year, but both bouts – and victories – sent shock waves through the MMA scene as he secured his status as one of the best 170-pound fighters in the world.
Lima entered 2019 as a Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix semifinalist.
The Brazilian lost his Bellator welterweight championship to former UFC star Rory MacDonald by decision following a competitive, closely-fought contest in 2018.
To climb his way back into title contention, Lima entered the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix later that year. In the opening round of tournament fights, Lima faced an old rival in Andrey Koreshkov – a former Bellator welterweight champion who had traded a win with a loss against Lima already.
Lima passed that stern test, submitting Koreshkov with a rear-naked choke in the fifth round to end the year on the high after his earlier setback.
The 32-year-old’s first fight in 2019 wasn’t until May. In the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix Semifinal, Lima faced unbeaten Brit Michael “Venom” Page at Bellator 221.
Lima – Page was one of those intense fights filled with anticipation as you would be a fool to predict what would transpire.
After some competitive skirmishes on the feet, Lima wisely took feared striker Page down with a neat trip half-way through the opening round. Largely untested on the ground, “MVP” showed some decent defence on his back to nullify Lima’s ground and pound as the contest’s first five minutes expired.
The fight kicked into high gear as the second stanza began.
Page landed a beautiful two-punch combination which appeared to stun Lima early in the round. After admiring his handiwork, Venom looked to strike in spectacular style once again in his trademark fighting style as he rounded on the Brazilian like he was prey.
However, Lima was lying in wait. As Page advanced once more, the American Top Team product totally took the Londoner’s legs out from underneath him with a vicious leg kick.
A split second after sending Page horizontal with the kick, Lima matched his last strike’s force with a brutal right hand which instantly separated MVP from his consciousness as he attempted to get back to his feet.
Lima handed Page the first loss of his MMA career and in violent fashion – sending the Rosemont, Illinois crowd into raptures.
With that win, Lima was on a collision course with MacDonald – the man who took Lima’s belt – as both competitors reached the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix Final.
The Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix came to a head at Bellator 232 on October 26, 2019.
That night, Lima proved he is undoubtedly one of the best – if not the best – welterweights currently competing in the sport with his victory over the talented, battle-hardened MacDonald in their rematch.
Wrestling was MacDonald’s path to victory the first time they fought, securing a decision win after getting his leg chewed up by Lima’s chopping leg kicks.
But things were different second time round. Lima displayed fantastic defensive grappling to resist MacDonald’s takedown attempts and if the fight hit the deck, his scrambles were perfectly executed to get himself either in an advantageous position on the ground or back to his feet.
When standing, Lima once again displayed his ferocious kicking arsenal at range, but his hands were the bigger difference maker. A piston-like left jab consistently permeated MacDonald’s defences, making the Canadian hesitant to close distance to either land strikes or attempt another takedown.
If Lima’s jab wasn’t snapping MacDonald’s head back, his floating right hand was ready to land with power instead.
The adjustments Lima had made since their last contest were beyond impressive and the judges were similarly impressed, awarding Lima a unanimous decision win.
It was the near-perfect performance the Brazilian needed to display to win back his title against a determined champion, emerging as the victor of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix in the process.
Welterweight is traditionally one of the sport’s most talent-rich divisions and that stands true today with top-level 170-pounders competing across multiple MMA promotions. Lima more than proved his status as one of the weight class’s most feared competitors.
After signing a new deal with Bellator, news broke in February that Lima was booked to fight ex-Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi in May for the vacant title at 185 pounds.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic put paid to that idea, though it’s expected that match-up will come to fruition when things return to normal.
Lima spent 2019 rebuilding his career and he did just that in spectacular style, entering a tumultuous 2020 as Bellator welterweight champion – the only three-time Bellator champion in history – and the winner of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix, avenging a defeat in doing so.
That’s why The Phenom is a top candidate for Fighter of the Year in the 12th annual World MMA Awards.
Is Douglas Lima your Fighter of the Year?
Voting is now open for the 12th annual World MMA Awards.
Head here to vote for your favourite fighters and MMA personalities.