The MMA odds and ends show is generally earmarked for my ideas about the UFC’s brand new reservations, but we can not ignore Bellator. The Scott Coker-led marketing has revealed some noteworthy bouts for the approaching Bellator 222 card, and below are my first thoughts on such matchups.
Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida, Bellator 222
Bellator 222 takes place June 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The most important event is a light heavyweight bout between Chael Sonnen and Lyoto Machida. Check out my thoughts on this matchup at a preceding odds and ends here.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darion Caldwell two, Bellator 222
Additionally added to Bellator 222 is a fascinating rematch between RIZIN bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi and Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell. These two fought at RIZIN’s New Year’s Eve event, with Horiguchi winning the fight by third-round submission. Horiguchi (27-2) will be making his Bellator debut here riding a 12-fight win series. He is a perfect 9-0 at RIZIN, and is coming off of a brilliant TKO win over former UFC fighter Ben Nguyen only a couple of weeks ago. Caldwell (13-2) is 10-1 overall in Bellator but hasn’t fought since the loss to Horiguchi in the RIZIN ring. The last time we watched Caldwell in Bellator he knocked out Noah Lahat past summer, and aside from a shocking submission defeat to Joe Taimanglo in 2016 he’s looked amazing at the Bellator cage. Nevertheless, you need to go with Horiguchi to win this rematch. There’s no reason to think much has changed since the last time these two fought, and I would anticipate Horiguchi for a big favorite this time around despite the fact that he was an underdog first time these two met.
Dillon Danis vs. Max Humphrey, Bellator 222
As well, 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 probably be coming off of a 14-month layoff within this bout. Humphrey (3-2) is making his Bellator introduction after losing by knockout to a nobody on the regional arena in his last outing. You can see what Bellator is trying to do here by reserving this mismatch, and Dannis will be a big favorite for the win.
Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie, Bellator 222
We weren’t positive if Rory MacDonald would be prepared to fight Neiman Gracie, but Bellator created the official announcement that the fight was on. The Bellator welterweight name will be on the line at the semifinals of the Bellator welterweight grand prix. MacDonald (20-5-1) is 2-1-1 complete in Bellator and is coming from a majority draw to Jon Fitch, using advanced from the tournament due to a rule where the champion advances in the event of a draw. MacDonald took quite a bit of damage in the Fitch fight and stated later in his post-fight interview that he doesn’t possess the drive to hurt his opponents he did. That’s concerning, and that makes you wonder whether he should 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 ace wins by entry. He is coming from a fantastic win over Ed Ruth in the quarterfinals, also is a live puppy here against MacDonald. I expect MacDonald to be preferred, but I’d have a very long look at Gracie in this one as MacDonald needs to be faded at this point.
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