The MMA odds and ends series is usually reserved for my ideas about the UFC’s new reservations, but we can’t dismiss Bellator. The Scott Coker-led promotion has shown some noteworthy bouts for the approaching 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 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, with Horiguchi winning the struggle by third-round entry. Horiguchi (27-2) will soon be making his Bellator debut here riding a 12-fight win series. He’s a perfect 9-0 at RIZIN, also 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 reduction to Horiguchi in the RIZIN ring. The last time we watched Caldwell in Bellator he pumped out Noah Lahat past summer, and besides a shocking entry defeat to Joe Taimanglo in 2016 he’s looked amazing at the Bellator cage. Still, you need to go together with Horiguchi to acquire this rematch. There is no reason to believe much has changed since the last time these two fought, and I would anticipate Horiguchi to be a big popular this time around despite the fact that he was an underdog 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 takes place 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 to a nobody on the regional scene in his final outing. You can see what Bellator is trying to do here by booking this mismatch, and Dannis will be a huge favorite to get the win.
Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie, Bellator 222
We were not sure if Rory MacDonald would be prepared to fight Neiman Gracie, but Bellator made the official announcement that the struggle was on. The Bellator welterweight name is going to be at stake at the semifinals of the Bellator welterweight grand prix. MacDonald (20-5-1) is 2-1-1 overall in Bellator and is coming off of a vast majority draw 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 bit of harm in the Fitch fight and said later in his post-fight interview that he does not have the drive to damage his opponents he did. That is about, and makes you wonder whether he should be fighting soon. He says he’s ready, but we’ll see. Gracie (9-0) is 7-0 in Bellator and overall has finished eight of his ace wins by submission. He’s coming off of a fantastic win over Ed Ruth from the quarterfinals, also is a live puppy here against MacDonald. I anticipate MacDonald to be favored, but I’d have a long look at Gracie in this one as MacDonald has to be faded at this time.
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