The MMA odds and ends show is generally earmarked for my thoughts about the UFC’s new reservations, but we can’t dismiss Bellator. The Scott Coker-led marketing has revealed some notable 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 , New York. The main event is a light heavyweight bout between Chael Sonnen and Lyoto Machida. Check out my ideas on this matchup at 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 at RIZIN’s New Year’s Eve event, together with Horiguchi winning the fight by third-round submission. Horiguchi (27-2) will soon be making his Bellator introduction here riding a 12-fight win streak. He’s 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 in the RIZIN ring. The last time we watched Caldwell at Bellator he pumped 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. Nevertheless, 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 foughtand I would anticipate Horiguchi to be a sizeable favorite this time around despite the fact that he was an underdog first time that 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 probably be coming from a 14-month layoff into this bout. Humphrey (3-2) is creating his Bellator debut after losing by knockout into a nobody on the regional scene in his last outing. It’s possible to see 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 sure if Rory MacDonald would be ready to fight Neiman Gracie, but Bellator made the official announcement that the fight was on. The Bellator welterweight name is going to be at stake in the semifinals of the 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, using advanced in the tournament because of a rule where the winner advances in the event of a draw. MacDonald took quite a little damage in the Fitch fight and said later in his post-fight interview he does not have the drive to damage his opponents that he did. That’s about, and makes you wonder whether he needs to be fighting so soon. He says he is ready, but we’ll see. Gracie (9-0) is 7-0 in Bellator and total has finished eight of his ace wins by submission. He is coming off of a fantastic win over Ed Ruth in the quarterfinals, and is a live dog here against MacDonald. I expect MacDonald to be preferred, 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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