The MMA odds and ends show is usually reserved for my thoughts on the UFC’s brand new reservations, but we can’t dismiss Bellator. The Scott Coker-led promotion has shown some notable 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 takes place June 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The most important 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 two, 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, with Horiguchi winning the fight by third-round entry. Horiguchi (27-2) will 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 brilliant 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 reduction to Horiguchi from the RIZIN ring. The last time we saw Caldwell in Bellator he knocked out Noah Lahat past summer, and besides a shocking submission defeat to Joe Taimanglo in 2016 he’s looked amazing in the Bellator cage. Nevertheless, you need to go 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 to be a sizeable favorite this time around despite the fact 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) 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 making his Bellator introduction after losing by knockout into a nobody in the regional arena in his last 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 positive if Rory MacDonald will be ready 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 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 draw to Jon Fitch, using advanced in the tournament because of a rule in which the winner advances in case of a draw. MacDonald took quite a little damage in the Fitch struggle and stated afterwards in his post-fight interview he does not have the drive to damage his opponents that he once did. That’s concerning, and makes you wonder if he needs to be fighting soon. He says he is ready, but we will see. Gracie (9-0) is 7-0 in Bellator and overall has finished eight of his pro wins by submission. He is 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 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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