Bellator 57 Preview: Ben Saunders vs. Douglas Lima Breakdown
On a night that is dominated by the UFC on FOX event, Bellator 57 will take place at Casino Rama in Orillia, Ontario on Nov. 12.
The main event of the evening will be the finals of the season five welterweight tournament, pitting former T.U.F. Hughes vs. Serra competitor Ben Saunders against the former MFC welterweight champion Douglas Lima.
When looking at their road to the finals, both have shown that they can flick the switch on and finish an opponent. Lima went the distance in his quarter-final fight against Steve Carl and knocked out Chris Lozano in his semi-final bout.
Saunders finished both of his tournament fights in the third round, a TKO over Chris Cisneros and a clinical performance throughout his fight against Luis Santos led to a submission victory.
With a Bellator welterweight title shot up for grabs, you better believe both of these guys will be hungry for a win.
The man waiting in the wings will be Ben Askren, who is 9-0 in his MMA career and knows a thing or two about winning a Bellator tournament, after winning season two, received a title shot and defeated Lyman Good to win the gold he still wears today.
Let's take a look at the breakdown of some key aspects the fight that will decide Askren's next opponent.
Ben Saunders (12-3) is a former UFC fighter and while Douglas Lima (20-4) hasn't fought for the big promotion, he knows what it takes to get it done in big fight situations.
As stated before, Lima is a former MFC welterweight champion and has also won the AFL (American Fight League) welterweight belt as well.
One can only assume that Saunders would have an advantage due to his UFC credentials and not to mention that he holds victories over Ryan Thomas and Marcus Davis and took Jon Fitch and Dennis Hallman the distance in losing causes, he hasn't really won the big one yet.
This is his chance to step up and put himself on the MMA map, but when it comes to an experience advantage, Lima holds more victories and more meaningful ones at that.
Advantage: Douglas Lima
When it comes to striking, both can hold their own and both are known to have great knockout power. Lima's last bout ended in a knockout and you can look for him to carry that momentum into this fight.
However, Saunders is a different beast. Saunders holds six knockout victories and has been on a tear since being cut by the UFC following UFC 117 in October 2010.
Saunders has won four straight, utilizing knees, ground and pound and submissions and when it comes to staying on the feet, Saunders will have the advantage over a guy who is just starting to find himself again on the feet.
Advantage: Ben Saunders
Lima holds 11 submission victories in his MMA career, but none since his triangle armbar victory over Jesse Juarez to win the MFC welterweight championship close to a year ago.
You can't count out Saunders in the ground game, however, as the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt has five submission victories of his own to his credit.
Lima is a product of American Top Team and is a big threat on the ground and loves to look for an armbar of some sort.
You can give the ground advantage to Lima here, due to how successful he is on the ground but again, don't count out Saunders on the ground.
What do you think?
Mark Pare is a Featured Columnist. Mark will be live at Casino Rama for Bellator 57 so stay tuned for more fight analysis and previews. You can follow him on Twitter and don't forget to check out his sportswriter page.