The MMA odds and ends show is usually earmarked for my thoughts about the UFC’s brand new reservations, but we can’t dismiss Bellator. The Scott Coker-led marketing has shown some notable bouts for the upcoming Bellator 222 card, and below are my first thoughts on such matchups.
Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida, Bellator 222
Bellator 222 occurs June 14 at 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 ideas on this matchup in a previous odds and ends here.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darion Caldwell 2, Bellator 222
Additionally 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, with Horiguchi winning the fight by third-round entry. Horiguchi (27-2) will be making his Bellator debut here riding a 12-fight win streak. He is a perfect 9-0 at RIZIN, also is coming off of a brilliant TKO win over former UFC fighter Ben Nguyen only a few weeks ago. Caldwell (13-2) is 10-1 overall in Bellator but hasn’t fought since the reduction to Horiguchi from the RIZIN ring. The last time we saw Caldwell at Bellator he knocked out Noah Lahat past summer, and besides a shocking submission defeat to Joe Taimanglo in 2016 he’s looked amazing in the Bellator cage. Still, you need to go together with Horiguchi to win this rematch. There is no reason to think much has changed since the last time these two foughtand I would expect Horiguchi to be a big popular this time around despite the fact 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) filed Kyle Walker in his Bellator and MMA debut last April, but will be coming off of a 14-month layoff within this bout. Humphrey (3-2) is creating his Bellator debut after losing by knockout into some nobody on the regional arena in his final outing. You can view what Bellator is trying to do here by booking this mismatch, and Dannis will be a big favorite for the win.
Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie, Bellator 222
We were not positive if Rory MacDonald would be prepared to fight Neiman Gracie, but Bellator made the official announcement that the fight was on. The Bellator welterweight title will 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 off of a vast majority attraction to Jon Fitch, having advanced in the tournament due to a rule in which the champion advances in case of a draw. MacDonald took quite a little harm in the Fitch fight and stated later in his post-fight interview that he does not have the drive to damage his opponents that he did. That’s about, and that makes you wonder whether he should be fighting so soon. He says he’s prepared, but we will see. Gracie (9-0) is 7-0 in Bellator and total has finished eight of his pro wins by entry. He is coming from a great win over Ed Ruth in the quarterfinals, also is a live puppy here against MacDonald. I expect MacDonald to be favored, but I’d take a long look at Gracie in this one as MacDonald has to be faded at this point.
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