Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima thinks he could still complete his trilogy with Rory MacDonald despite the fact the Canadian has signed with PFL.

Lima and MacDonald shared a rivalry in Bellator that saw them fight twice. The Brazilian lost his title in his first bout against MacDonald at Bellator 192 in January 2018. Lima was able to reclaim the 170lb title by beating ‘The Red King’ over five rounds at Bellator 232 in October 2019.

The two men were far and away the best welterweights on the Bellator roster and looked set for a trilogy fight in the near future. Late last year MacDonald opted to leave Bellator and sign with the Professional Fighter’s League (PFL) scurppering those plans.

Speaking exclusively to LowKickMMA, Lima admits he was surprised to see MacDonald leave Bellator but insists the trilogy fight may still happen, he said.

“I was really hoping that fight would happen again in the future you know a trilogy. It was a surprise. It really was a surprise that he moved to PFL but good for him. He’s looking out for himself. He’s probably got a great deal and he’s probably looking for the $1 million tournaments there as well. So you know, good for him. You never know with MMA, that’s why it might happen in the future who knows?”

Lima also took time out to reflect on his rivalry with MacDonald. The 33-year-old champion believes facing off against someone of that level taught him a lot and made him confident heading into the rematch, he explained.

“I learned a lot from fights you know. Pretty much every fight that I’ve rematch, that I’ve lost, I’ve won. I knew it wasn’t going to be different. Once I fight somebody, I really get to know their style a lot more. It wasn’t as exciting as the first fight, but still a technical battle. I was really confident I was going to beat him in the rematch. He did a much better job in defending the low kicks in the second fight. So, it was good. I still got the victory unanimous decision. (I was) happy I got the rematch in the tournament final, it was a big night for me.”

Lima is expected to move up to middleweight and challenge Gegard Mousasi for the vacant title soon. The pair were due to meet at Bellator 242 on May 9 but the ongoing global pandemic halted those plans. Lima is now hoping to get the fight in July when Bellator begins hosting events again.

Do you think Douglas Lima and Roy MacDonald will fight for a third time?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.