We've cracked the top five of our 2011 World MMA Welterweight Scouting Report with Luis "Sapo" Santos, and we're now scratching the surface of our top fighters in the division that you may be seeing frequently in the near future. One of those fighters, our #4 ranked welterweight prospect in Douglas Lima (17-4), has received a lot of attention as he's battled it out with some of the better prospects in the world in bouts under the Maximum Fighting Championships banner. With slick Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Lima has solidified himself as a prospect who will undoubtedly be receiving calls from major promotions soon, if not already.
Offensive Skills: Lima's Brazilian jiu-jitsu is his greatest asset, and his consistent training with Roan Carneiro and sixth degree black belt Roberto Traven has molded him into a top prospect. He's very slick in his transitions to submissions, and his positioning on the ground is exceptional. Off his back, he uses his lengthy 6'1" frame to tie opponents up and neutralize their offensive abilities, i.e. his recent bout with Jesse Juarez at MFC 27. He's also dangerous in the scramble as evident in his battle with Ryan Ford at MFC 26 in which he took his back in the opening minutes of the second round.
His striking is something we've seen a whole lot of in recent performances, mainly due to his opponents pressing the action to the clinch immediately. Lima lacked the strength to implement the Thai plum effectively in both fights and relied heavily on his grappling skills to win. It's tough to gauge exactly where he is in that department, but all indications point to Lima being a dangerous range fighter on the feet. Improving his power and explosiveness while shedding some of the hesitance he has to power through opponents is a must.
Defensive Skills: Like his offensive skills, jiu-jitsu serves as his defensive skills for the most part. He uses his frame to tie opponents up and reverse roles on the ground as he transitions to the offensive. As I've stated in a number of these pieces, many of these prospects have realized that a good offense serves as the best defense. Lima is no different, but his grappling prowess does allow him to avoid powerful ground and pound attacks.
On the feet, Lima still needs some work. He looks rather hesitant in most of his fights, mainly due to the fact that he knows his opponents will likely shoot and try to pound on him from top control. He's allowed opponents to throw the strong overhand over the top of his defenses, and lazy kicking from range is usually the culprit.
Progression & Learning Ability: Lima is probably one of the lone welterweight prospects on our list who is receiving a lot of attention for his progression. That mostly stems on the fact that he was only 18 years old when he began his career and has gained a notoriety as a top prospect at only 22 years of age.
His stand-up has improved quite a bit under the tutelage of Manu Ntoh, and his Brazilian jiu-jitsu is obviously at a world class level in the context of mixed martial arts. The sky is the limit for this kid, but his striking will need to be more of a factor in the future as I imagine many of his opponents will be trying to avoid the ground battle.
Environment: As aforementioned, Lima trains out of American Top Team Atlanta under head coach Roan Carneiro, and he also works out with Roberto Traven's academy as well. He works on his Muay Thai under Master Manu Ntoh, who has trained Alan Belcher, Raphael Assuncao, and Junior Assuncao. That's a solid support system for which he can continue improving for the future, and the association with American Top Team should allow him to take a few trips down to Florida and spar with some of the UFC fighters there.
Potential: Some of the criticism of Lima is that his stand-up just isn't what it should be right now, and I'd agree that there are a lot of welterweights in the upper reaches of Strikeforce and the UFC that could unload their hands on him without being taken down. That's the type of fight he needs to take on, in a regional spotlight, in order for us to see if he can hack it against a fighter who can implement those skills.
On the ground, Lima has the skills to be a top notch welterweight, and those skills are going to be his primary means of winning fights at the next level. He'll need to improve his takedown abilities and striking in order to survive against better fighters, but at the current rate of his development -- it wouldn't surprise me if he succeeds and impresses fans in a promotion like the UFC or Strikeforce.
"The Prospect" Douglas Lima series by Genghis Con
Douglas Lima vs. Jesse Juarez - MFC 27
Douglas Lima vs. Ryan Ford - MFC 26
Douglas Lima vs. Joseph Blaze