The MMA odds and ends series is generally earmarked for my ideas on the UFC’s new bookings, but we can’t ignore Bellator. The Scott Coker-led promotion has revealed some noteworthy bouts for the approaching Bellator 222 card, and below are my first thoughts on such matchups.
Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida, Bellator 222
Bellator 222 takes place 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. Check out my thoughts on this matchup in a previous odds and ends here.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darion Caldwell 2, Bellator 222
Also 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, with Horiguchi winning the fight by third-round entry. Horiguchi (27-2) will be making his Bellator introduction here riding a 12-fight win streak. 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 has not fought since the loss to Horiguchi in the RIZIN ring. The last time we watched Caldwell at Bellator he knocked out Noah Lahat last summer, and aside from a shocking entry defeat to Joe Taimanglo in 2016 he’s looked amazing at the Bellator cage. Nevertheless, you need to go together with Horiguchi to win this rematch. There’s no reason to think much has changed since the last time these two fought, and I would anticipate 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 takes place at Bellator 222. Dannis (1-0) submitted 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 making his Bellator debut after losing by knockout into some nobody on the regional arena in his last outing. You can view what Bellator is trying 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 sure if Rory MacDonald would be prepared to fight Neiman Gracie, but Bellator made the official announcement that the fight was on. The Bellator welterweight name is going to be on the line 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 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 damage in the Fitch fight and stated afterwards in his post-fight interview he does not have the drive to hurt his opponents he once did. That’s concerning, and makes you wonder whether he needs to be fighting soon. He says he is prepared, but we will see. Gracie (9-0) is 7-0 in Bellator and total has finished eight of his ace wins by entry. He’s coming off of a great win over Ed Ruth from the quarterfinals, and is a live puppy here against MacDonald. I anticipate MacDonald to be favored, but I’d have a very long look at Gracie in this one as MacDonald needs to be faded at this time.
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