As Neiman Gracie prepares for his shot at Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald in June, he’s also keeping a watchful eye on one fight in particular taking place this weekend.
At Bellator 221 from Chicago, former champion Douglas Lima takes on highly touted striker Michael ‘Venom’ Page aka MVP in the semifinals of the ongoing Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix.
The winner of that fight will then move on to face either Gracie or MacDonald later this year.
While his focus remains on MacDonald and their date in June, Gracie believes he knows who will be standing across the cage from him if he’s successful in his bid to become Bellator champion.
“It’s a little like Rory’s fight against Jon Fitch. Everybody was counting Jon Fitch out, everybody thought it would be an easy fight for Rory and I said it wouldn’t be that easy. I said that Jon Fitch would bring the fight to him and I think the same thing is going to happen in that fight,” Gracie explained when speaking to MMAWeekly.
“I think Douglas is the favorite and I think Douglas is going to win but if he slips a little bit on MVP, MVP can catch him. He’s got to watch out. It’s not going to be an easy fight for him. It’s going to be a tense fight. It’s going to be dangerous from the beginning. I think Douglas is going to win but it’s going to be a tough fight.”
Lima is favored to win in the fight against Page with vastly more experience against higher level competition than the kickboxer from England.
Still, Page has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his fighting career, which is why he’s been called one of the best prospects to enter the sport in several years.
Lima faces Page on Saturday night and then the winner will await the title fight between Gracie and MacDonald in June before scheduling the finals of the welterweight tournament later this year.