Paul Daley faces former Bellator Welterweight Champion Douglas Lima on Saturday in Bellator’s first ever event in London, a fight he was supposed to get back in February of last year for that title. Lima wound up getting injured, and Andrey Koreshkov then took the belt off him when he returned, and he’s spent the last year on the shelf.
Daley, meanwhile, has picked up three straight wins in the Bellator cage since returning to the organization, and is ready to pick up a win in his home country to secure his shot at the belt once again.
“Lima’s a dangerous opponent; a win over him brings a title shot as he was the former champion,” Daley told MMATorch recently of the Lima matchup. “Yeah, he’s a dangerous guy. It’s a motivating fight. This is a fight where I have to be aware of what Lima brings to the table. I think it’s a very good fight for me. It’s a fight that I welcomed, it’s a fight that I picked. I’m looking forward to going out there, fighting my fight, and getting a victory. Moving on and going for the title myself.
The 33-year-old Brit is keeping his eye out on Lima’s kicks and a dangerous right hand, but believes he’s got ways to neutralize those strengths in the Bellator 158 main event. He’s also supremely confident that he can finish the fight, something which despite his power may come as a surprise given Lima’s not been stopped by strikes in nine years.
“I just need to hit him, just once, and that will be changed,” Daley said. “I just need to land my shot, and believe me he will go to sleep. If you look through my record I’ve [fought] a lot of guys who have never been stopped, and you’ll go through their record and you’ll see the only person to stop them is me. And then again they go on to never get stopped again and they’ll retire because the knockout I gave them was so devastating.”
“Matchmakers [match me up with] a guy with a solid chin or who has never been stopped and the result is that I knock them out. So the fact that he’s never been stopped means nothing to me. It just means he’s faced lesser opponents. When he faces me, different story.”
A win over Lima brings a shot at Koreshkov, who dispatched of the debuting Benson Henderson in April. For Daley, that fight – and the planned rematch with Josh Koscheck – remain on his radar, but he has his eyes on a number of other possible future matchups as well.
“He’s a tricky fight, Koreshkov. He’s awkward, does some erratic things,” Daley said. “Good, solid wrestling as well. He’s a tough guy, but again when it comes to that point if I do need to take a close look at him I will. We will figure out a way to exploit his weaknesses and get the victory.
“[After that], if Wanderlei’s still around I’d love to fight Wanderlei [at 185 lbs]. It depends where he’s at, if he still wants to fight. Ben Henderson’s there, Rory MacDonald might be coming over. [With a] long, extremely disciplined camp I’m not the biggest at 170 [lbs] so I think I could get down to 155 [lbs] and challenge Michael Chandler if the money’s right and the fight is there. I’m just looking for the biggest fights right now, so there’s a lot out there for me.”
Bellator 158 airs via tape delay on Spike Saturday night at 9PM ET.
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