Just three months after Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima successfully defended his title against Lorenz Larkin, another former UFC star has stepped up.
Former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald seeks to win gold for the first time in the 170-pound division when he takes on the Brazilian champ on Jan. 20 at The Forum in Inglewood.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or the Forum box office.
The title defense comes not as quickly as Lima (29-6) would have liked. He defeated Larkin via unanimous decision in June and was eyeing a return to the cage in November or December.
“But I’ll take it, what else can I do?” Lima, 29, said this week from Bellator’s headquarters in Hollywood. “They want to do it on a big show, here in L.A. It’s gonna be big. I’m sure the card is gonna be stacked. The wait is gonna be worth it in the end.”
A UFC title reign was once expected of MacDonald (19-4), but two consecutive losses — a brutally violent and bloody fifth-round TKO at the hands of UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, followed by a unanimous-decision loss to Stephen Thompson — paired with his contract being up led “The Red King” to become a free agent and the biggest Bellator signing to date.
“My first goal in Bellator was to get this fight and a championship,” MacDonald, 28, said this week. “When they brought me out and introduced me to fans (a year ago) … this championship fight was the first goal on my list as far as what I needed to accomplish. I’m pretty motivated. I’m gonna hit this goal hard and hit the ground running, so to speak.”
MacDonald made his Bellator debut in May with a second-round submission of hard-hitting Paul Daley.
He acknowledges Lima is more well-rounded than Daley, but has said Lima isn’t on his level.
“I just don’t think he’s up to that kind of direction and force that I have, the skill set that I have, the athleticism that I have,” the Canadian…