The MMA odds and ends series is generally reserved for my thoughts about the UFC’s new bookings, but we can not ignore Bellator. The Scott Coker-led marketing has shown some notable bouts for the upcoming Bellator 222 card, and below are my first thoughts on these matchups.
Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida, Bellator 222
Bellator 222 occurs 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 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, together with Horiguchi winning the struggle by third-round entry. Horiguchi (27-2) will soon be making his Bellator introduction here riding a 12-fight win series. He is a perfect 9-0 in RIZIN, also is coming from a brilliant TKO win over former UFC fighter Ben Nguyen just a couple of 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 watched Caldwell in Bellator he knocked out Noah Lahat past 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 acquire this rematch. There’s no reason to think much has changed since the last time these two fought, and I’d anticipate Horiguchi to be a sizeable favorite this time around despite the fact 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 occurs at Bellator 222. Dannis (1-0) submitted Kyle Walker in his Bellator and MMA debut last April, but will probably be coming from a 14-month layoff within this bout. Humphrey (3-2) is creating his Bellator introduction after losing by knockout to a nobody in the regional arena in his last outing. It’s possible to view what Bellator is trying to do here by reserving this mismatch, and Dannis will be a huge favorite to get the win.
Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie, Bellator 222
We weren’t positive if Rory MacDonald would be ready to fight Neiman Gracie, but Bellator created the official announcement that the struggle was on. The Bellator welterweight title is going to be at stake at the semifinals of this Bellator welterweight grand prix. MacDonald (20-5-1) is 2-1-1 overall in Bellator and is coming off of a vast majority attraction to Jon Fitch, using advanced from the tournament due to a rule where the winner advances in the event of a draw. MacDonald took quite a bit of harm in the Fitch struggle and said later in his post-fight interview that he does not possess the drive to hurt his opponents he did. That is concerning, and that makes you wonder if he should be fighting 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’s coming off of a fantastic win over Ed Ruth in the quarterfinals, and 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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