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The MMA odds and ends series is usually reserved for my thoughts about the UFC’s brand new reservations, but we can not ignore Bellator. The Scott Coker-led promotion has revealed some notable bouts for the approaching Bellator 222 card, and here 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 thoughts on this matchup in a previous odds and ends here.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darion Caldwell 2, Bellator 222
Additionally 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 struggle by third-round submission. Horiguchi (27-2) will soon be creating his Bellator introduction here riding a 12-fight win series. He’s a perfect 9-0 at RIZIN, also is coming from a dazzling 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 submission defeat to Joe Taimanglo in 2016 he’s looked amazing at the Bellator cage. Still, you have to go together with Horiguchi to win this rematch. There is no reason to believe much has changed since the last time these two fought, and I would expect Horiguchi for a sizeable favorite 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 probably be coming off of a 14-month layoff into this bout. Humphrey (3-2) is creating his Bellator introduction after losing by knockout into a nobody in the regional arena in his last outing. It’s possible to see what Bellator is hoping to do here by reserving this mismatch, and Dannis will be a big favorite for the win.
Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie, Bellator 222
We weren’t sure if Rory MacDonald will be ready to fight Neiman Gracie, but Bellator created the official announcement that the struggle was on. The Bellator welterweight name is going to be at stake at the semifinals of the Bellator welterweight grand prix. MacDonald (20-5-1) is 2-1-1 complete in Bellator and is coming from a majority attraction to Jon Fitch, using advanced in the tournament because of a rule in which the champion advances in the event of a draw. MacDonald took quite a little harm in the Fitch fight and said afterwards in his post-fight interview that he does not possess the drive to hurt his opponents that he once did. That’s about, and that makes you wonder if he needs to be fighting so soon. He says he’s prepared, but we’ll see. Gracie (9-0) is 7-0 in Bellator and overall has completed eight of his ace wins by submission. He’s coming off of a great win over Ed Ruth from the quarterfinals, also is a live puppy here against MacDonald. I anticipate MacDonald to be favored, but I’d take a very long look at Gracie in this one as MacDonald has to be faded at this point.
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