BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The rematch between Rory MacDonald and Douglas Lima is official. The two top Bellator welterweights have agreed to meet in the World Grand Prix Final on Oct. 26, promotion president Scott Coker told MMA Fighting on Thursday.
The pairing will be held at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn, in an event that will be announced during Saturday’s Bellator 225: Mitrione vs. Kharitonov II event, he said. The divisional title, the World Grand Prix title, and a $1 million prize will be on the line.
The two first tangled in January 2018, fighting to the final bell at Bellator 192. MacDonald captured a unanimous decision in a stellar contest. That win ultimately catapulted him into an attempt at becoming a two-division champion, a quest that came up short when MacDonald was TKO’d by Gegard Mousasi.
MacDonald then entered the Grand Prix with the proviso that he would defend his belt in every round of the tournament. His first matchup did not go to plan, as in a quarterfinal pairing, he fought to a majority draw with the veteran grappler Jon Fitch. While MacDonald (21-5-1) advanced by the slimmest of margins by retaining his belt via draw, he suddenly, publicly considered the possibility of retirement. After short deliberations, however, he returned less than two months later in June and soundly defeated Neiman Gracie to advance to the final.
Lima (31-7) found his way to the Grand Prix final with a pair of excellent performances, choking out Andrey Koreshkov in the quarterfinals while knocking out the then-unbeaten Michael Page in the semis.
This will be Lima’s fourth attempt to capture Bellator gold. He previously fell short in title matches against Ben Askren, Koreshkov, and the aforementioned bout with MacDonald. Those three championship fight losses represent the only defeats in his entire Bellator career, spanning eight years and 16 bouts.