The MMA odds and ends series is usually reserved for my thoughts about the UFC’s new bookings, but we can not dismiss Bellator. The Scott Coker-led promotion has revealed some notable bouts for the approaching Bellator 222 card, and here are my initial thoughts on these matchups.
Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida, Bellator 222
Bellator 222 takes place June 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York , New York. The main 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 RIZIN’s New Year’s Eve event, together with Horiguchi winning the fight by third-round entry. Horiguchi (27-2) will be making his Bellator debut here riding a 12-fight win series. He is a perfect 9-0 in RIZIN, and is coming from a dazzling TKO win over former UFC fighter Ben Nguyen only 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 pumped out Noah Lahat last 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 with Horiguchi to win this rematch. There is no reason to think much has changed since the last time these two fought, and I’d expect Horiguchi for 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
As well, a catchweight (175lbs) bout between Dillon Danis and Max Humphrey occurs at Bellator 222. Dannis (1-0) filed 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 final outing. You can view what Bellator is trying to do here by reserving this mismatch, and Dannis will be a huge favorite for the win.
Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie, Bellator 222
We weren’t sure if Rory MacDonald would be ready to fight Neiman Gracie, but Bellator made the official announcement that the struggle was on. The Bellator welterweight title is going to be on the line at the semifinals of this 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 because of a rule where the champion advances in the event of a draw. MacDonald took quite a bit of harm in the Fitch struggle and said afterwards in his post-fight interview that he does not possess the drive to hurt his opponents he once did. That is concerning, and that makes you wonder if he should be fighting so soon. He says he’s prepared, but we’ll see. Gracie (9-0) is 7-0 in Bellator and overall has finished eight of his pro 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 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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