Rory MacDonald Wins Bellator Title in Grueling War with Douglas Lima

Rory MacDonald is finally a world champion after defeating Douglas Lima at Bellator 192

Rory MacDonald is finally a world champion.

The veteran welterweight contender who was crowned a future champion just a few fights into his career achieved his dream to win gold after winning a grueling war with Douglas Lima in the co-main event at Bellator 192 on Saturday night.

MacDonald had to endure a severely swollen leg courtesy of some brutal kicks from Lima, but ultimately he was able to out grapple the two-time champion over five rounds to get the win.

MacDonald set the pace early by taking the center of the cage and then pushes Lima backwards while trying to set up his strikes while also looking for a couple of takedown attempts. Lima was strong enough to resist MacDonald’s takedowns early but eventually the Canadian wrestled his way into a body lock before dragging the fight down to the mat.

MacDonald was patient working inside Lima’s guard while looking for the perfect opening to hammer down with big powerful punches and elbows. The fighters were eventually stood up from the ground but with only about 10 seconds left to go in the round, Lima didn’t have much time to mount a comeback.

MacDonald went back to work with a similar plan of attack in the second round, pressing Lima against the cage while trying to drain the life out of him with a grinding style.

Lima had a stronger showing this time around by keeping MacDonald on the feet but he still couldn’t do much damage while getting locked in the clinch again and again.

It was clear as the fight moved forward that MacDonald had a very specific game plan in mind as he constantly worked from the clinch and then went for the takedown to wear Lima out.

Lima’s best offense came from the stand ups whenever he got back to his feet when he began to batter MacDonald’s lead leg with kicks. The constant barrage of leg kicks finally took out one of MacDonald’s limbs late in the third round with Lima landing on top landing shots until the horn sounded.

As the fourth round got underway, Lima saw that MacDonald was not only hurting from the leg kicks but he was also starting to breathe heavy and that led to a quick takedown before moving directly into the mount.

MacDonald was able to get back into a half guard to stall the action and get a stand up from the referee. The restart allowed MacDonald to grab a takedown of his own with just over a minute to go in the round. MacDonald didn’t do much damage but it was certainly a well timed breather after giving up the majority of the control through the five minute session.

With a very close battle through four rounds, MacDonald knew he had to secure the victory in the fifth and final round so almost immediately after the referee released them from the corner, he pushed forward and took Lima to the ground. MacDonald maintained control while peppering away with short elbows and punches, doing enough damage to ensure the fight was going to stay on the ground.

Lima was just stuck underneath MacDonald for the bulk of the round without giving much effort to get back to his feet and that likely cost him the fight and the welterweight championship.

When it was over, the judges scored the fight 48-47, 49-45, and 49-46 all in favor of MacDonald, who was crowned the new Bellator welterweight champion.

“The best fighter I’ve ever faced,” MacDonald said after his championship win. “I definitely feel like the best in the world after fighting that guy.”

There’s no doubt that MacDonald had to fight every second of every round to earn that victory and chances are he’s going to run into Lima again at some point in the future. For now, MacDonald can celebrate his victory with a title wrapped around his waist.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.