The MMA odds and ends series is usually earmarked for my thoughts about the UFC’s new reservations, but we can not dismiss Bellator. The Scott Coker-led promotion has revealed some notable bouts for the approaching Bellator 222 card, and below are my initial thoughts on such 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 at a preceding 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 RIZIN’s New Year’s Eve event, together with Horiguchi winning the fight by third-round entry. Horiguchi (27-2) will soon be creating his Bellator introduction here riding a 12-fight win series. He is a perfect 9-0 in RIZIN, also is coming off of 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 at Bellator he pumped out Noah Lahat last summer, and aside from a shocking submission defeat to Joe Taimanglo in 2016 he’s looked amazing at the Bellator cage. Nevertheless, you have to go with Horiguchi to acquire this rematch. There’s no reason to believe 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 that 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 be coming from a 14-month layoff within this bout. Humphrey (3-2) is creating his Bellator debut after losing by knockout to some nobody in the regional arena in his final outing. You can see what Bellator is hoping 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 were not positive if Rory MacDonald would be ready to fight Neiman Gracie, but Bellator created the official announcement that the fight was on. The Bellator welterweight title is going to be on the line in 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 majority draw to Jon Fitch, using advanced from the tournament because of a rule where the winner advances in case of a draw. MacDonald took quite a bit of damage in the Fitch fight and stated afterwards in his post-fight interview he doesn’t possess the drive to hurt his opponents that he once did. That is about, and makes you wonder if he needs to be fighting 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 pro wins by submission. He’s coming from a fantastic win over Ed Ruth from the quarterfinals, also is a live dog here against MacDonald. I anticipate MacDonald to be preferred, but I would have a very long look at Gracie in this one as MacDonald has to be faded at this point.
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