Just In Rory MacDonald shuts down Bellator’s ‘unrealistic’ timeline for Douglas Lima rematch MMA Life

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NEW YORK – Rory MacDonald says Bellator’s ideal timeline for his welterweight grand prix final with Douglas Lima isn’t one that works for him.

After competing twice in the span of less than two months, MacDonald (21-5-1 MMA, 3-1-1 BMMA), who defeated Neiman Gracie (9-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) by unanimous decision in Friday night’s Bellator 222 headliner to defend his welterweight title, said he’s in need of a break before facing Lima (31-7 MMA, 13-3 BMMA).

Bellator president Scott Coker said post-fight that he’s targeting the tournament final to take place in September, but MacDonald stated that won’t happen.

“It’s unrealistic for me,” MacDonald told MMA Junkie at the Bellator 222 post-fight news conference. “I wish I could make it come true. I had a feeling they would want that, but it’s just not possible with what’s going on in my life right now. I need to take some time to heal from these fights, from these training camps, so I can be ready for a guy like Douglas.”

In addition to a few lingering injuries that have come out of back-to-back fights in a span of seven weeks, MacDonald said he and his wife are expecting the birth of their second child in August. They will then need some time to adjust before MacDonald can refocus.

“Doing that while just having a new child I think would be a little much stress-wise and organization, and it’s just too quick,” MacDonald said. “It’s too much of a rebound for me to take on a competitor like Douglas.”

For MacDonald, a more sensible date for his rematch with Lima, who he took the 170-pound title from in a grueling five-round fight at Bellator 192 in January 2018, would be November or December, he said.

That comes as a frustrating development for Lima’s team, who told MMA Junkie that the timeline Bellator proposes is a reasonable one.

“Douglas will be very disappointed if Rory doesn’t fight in September,” Lima’s manager, Brian Butler, said. “He wants the rematch as bad as he wants to win this tournament. Rory can take off four weeks to rest and still have an eight-week camp. We need to finish this.”

It remains to be seen if Bellator can persuade MacDonald to budge on his stance. One thing is for sure, though: Lima will be the next opponent for the Canadian titleholder.

The stakes will be massive when MacDonald and Lima are booked to fight. Not only is the belt on the line, but a $ 1 million prize will be granted to the winner, as well. MacDonald said he wants to be fully prepared for that moment, because after being carried out of the cage the first time around, he wants to leave no questions in the rematch.

“Hopefully a lot less shin kicks (in the rematch),” MacDonald said. “That’s what I’m thinking. I want to go in there, and I want to finish him. It’s been a while, it seems like, since I’ve got a finish, and I’ll be looking to bring it to him.”

For complete coverage of Bellator 222, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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