Bellator MMA is set for another evening of ‘Friday Night Fights’ and tomorrow’s BMMA 117 main event, as from the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, bodes to be the best welterweight fight that fans could see outside of the UFC.
On the night and at the event, Douglas Lima and Rick Hawn will square-off for the vacated title of former 170 pound champion Ben Askren.
Lima is 26 years old and stands 25 – 5 in his professional record. He boasts an impressive 88% finishing rate, as equally divided between T/KOs’ and submissions – eleven apiece – and is riding a four fight / four finish winning streak. His last outing was at Bellator 100 in September of last year, and on the night Lima looked phenomenal. His second round KO (head kick) dispatch of Ben Saunders was a thing of beauty and he looked masterful in his Octagon generalship and stand-up.
Hawn is a high level judoka and former Olympian – 2004 Games – that has developed some formidable boxing skills, and isn’t afraid to stand and trade with anyone. With a record of 18 – 2 professionally and four consecutive wins at his back, Hawn has proven that his in-and-out style and judo base make him a difficult opponent to take on. As he’s only been stopped once in his career – a submission loss to Michael Chandler in January of 2013 – Hawn is a veteran that’s hard to put away, and one that’s not likely to gas out in a five round fight.
Going into the match, Lima has advantages in youth (eleven years), finish rate (+23%), height (4 inches) and dynamism. Simply put, “The Phenom” looks better on paper. He’s the younger, stronger, taller fighter, and the one with the greater skill set. And like Hawn he’s tough to put away, having only been stopped twice in his career; one TKO, one submission, and that was six years ago. The more relevant number on Lima is that he’s 13 – 1 over the last four years and shows no signs of slowing down.
Yet, at age 37 and being a small welterweight, Hawn is accustomed to fighting opponents that have the better of him in both youth and size. And when it comes to an adversary’s greater skill set, “Genghis” does a superior job of negating much of it with his speed and footwork.
Regardless of which fighter takes home the belt tomorrow night one thing is guaranteed, that fans are in for an entertaining match between two great competitors. Lima vs. Hawn is apt to be a highly contested affair and one with a lot of thrills. This is a ‘do not miss’ fight for any fan of MMA.
Bellator 117 begins at 9 p.m. ET on Spikte TV.