The MMA odds and ends series is usually reserved for my ideas on the UFC’s brand new bookings, but we can’t dismiss Bellator. The Scott Coker-led marketing has revealed some notable bouts for the upcoming Bellator 222 card, and here are my first thoughts on these matchups.
Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida, Bellator 222
Bellator 222 occurs June 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York , New York. The most important event is a light heavyweight bout between Chael Sonnen and Lyoto Machida. Check out my ideas on this matchup in a previous odds and ends here.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darion Caldwell two, Bellator 222
Also added to Bellator 222 is an intriguing rematch between RIZIN bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi and Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell. These two fought at RIZIN’s New Year’s Eve event, together with Horiguchi winning the struggle by third-round submission. Horiguchi (27-2) will soon be creating his Bellator debut here riding a 12-fight win series. He’s a perfect 9-0 in RIZIN, also is coming from a dazzling TKO win over former UFC fighter Ben Nguyen just a few weeks ago. Caldwell (13-2) is 10-1 overall in Bellator but has not fought since the loss to Horiguchi from the RIZIN ring. The last time we watched Caldwell in Bellator he knocked out Noah Lahat past summer, and aside from a shocking entry defeat to Joe Taimanglo in 2016 he’s looked amazing in the Bellator cage. Still, you need to go together with Horiguchi to acquire this rematch. There’s no reason to think much has changed since the last time these two fought, and I’d anticipate Horiguchi to be a sizeable popular this time around despite the fact he was an underdog the first time that these two met.
Dillon Danis vs. Max Humphrey, Bellator 222
At the same time, a catchweight (175lbs) bout between Dillon Danis and Max Humphrey occurs at Bellator 222. Dannis (1-0) submitted Kyle Walker in his Bellator and MMA debut last April, but will be coming off of a 14-month layoff into this bout. Humphrey (3-2) is making his Bellator debut after losing by knockout into a nobody on the regional scene in his last outing. It’s possible to see what Bellator is hoping to do here by reserving this mismatch, and Dannis will be a huge favorite to get the win.
Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie, Bellator 222
We weren’t positive if Rory MacDonald would be ready to fight Neiman Gracie, but Bellator made the official announcement that the fight was on. The Bellator welterweight name will be on the line at the semifinals of this Bellator welterweight grand prix. MacDonald (20-5-1) is 2-1-1 overall in Bellator and is coming off of a majority draw to Jon Fitch, having advanced in the tournament because of a rule where the winner advances in case of a draw. MacDonald took quite a little damage in the Fitch struggle and said later in his post-fight interview that he doesn’t possess the drive to damage his opponents he once did. That is about, and makes you wonder whether he needs to be fighting so soon. He says he is prepared, but we’ll see. Gracie (9-0) is 7-0 in Bellator and total has finished eight of his pro wins by submission. He is coming off of a fantastic win over Ed Ruth from the quarterfinals, and is a live dog here against MacDonald. I anticipate MacDonald to be favored, but I would have a very long look at Gracie in this one as MacDonald needs to be faded at this point.
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