The MMA odds and ends series is usually earmarked for my ideas on the UFC’s new reservations, but we can’t dismiss Bellator. The Scott Coker-led promotion has revealed some noteworthy bouts for the upcoming Bellator 222 card, and below are my initial thoughts on such matchups.
Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida, Bellator 222
Bellator 222 takes place June 14 in Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The main event is a light heavyweight bout between Chael Sonnen and Lyoto Machida. Have a look at my thoughts on this matchup at a previous 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, together with Horiguchi winning the struggle by third-round submission. Horiguchi (27-2) will soon be creating his Bellator introduction here riding a 12-fight win streak. He is a perfect 9-0 at RIZIN, also is coming from a dazzling TKO win over former UFC fighter Ben Nguyen only a couple of 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 at 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. Still, you have to go together with Horiguchi to win this rematch. There’s no reason to think much has changed since the last time these two fought, and I’d expect Horiguchi to be a big popular this time around despite the fact that he was an underdog the first time 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 probably be coming off of a 14-month layoff within this bout. Humphrey (3-2) is creating his Bellator debut after losing by knockout into a nobody in the regional arena in his last outing. You can view what Bellator is trying to do here by reserving this mismatch, and Dannis will be a big favorite to get the win.
Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie, Bellator 222
We were not 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 title is going to be on the line in the semifinals of this Bellator welterweight grand prix. MacDonald (20-5-1) is 2-1-1 complete in Bellator and is coming from a vast majority attraction to Jon Fitch, having advanced from the tournament due to a rule in which the champion advances in case of a draw. MacDonald took quite a little damage in the Fitch struggle and stated later in his post-fight interview he doesn’t have the drive to damage his opponents that he once did. That is concerning, and makes you wonder if he needs to be fighting soon. He says he is ready, but we will see. Gracie (9-0) is 7-0 in Bellator and total has finished eight of his ace wins by submission. He is coming from a fantastic win over Ed Ruth in the quarterfinals, also is a live dog here against MacDonald. I anticipate MacDonald to be favored, but I would take a long look at Gracie in this one as MacDonald needs to be faded at this time.
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