Bellator returns to Madison Square Garden on Friday night with a card full of familiar faces to UFC fans but also some top-notch fighters that casual viewers may not know but will certainly want to check out.
(Edited from preview by Mike Hiscoe, read full preview here)
Headlining the show is a semi-final bout in Bellator’s welterweight grand prix tournament. Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald takes on Neiman Gracie and the title will be on the line.
MacDonald is coming off of a controversial majority draw against Jon Fitch only seven weeks ago. One of the ringside judges and our own Cole Henry scored the fight in Fitch’s favor but the rules of the tournament dictated that in the case of a draw, the champion would move on.
The undefeated Gracie may be the dark horse of this tournament. In nine professional fights, Gracie has eight submission wins including a fourth-round rear-naked choke of Ed Ruth last December.
Underneath the main event is a fight between known commodities in what was originally billed as the evening’s headliner. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida takes on Chael Sonnen in a fight that has somehow eluded us all of these years.
WATCH WEIGH-IN HERE:
The entire Bellator 222 card streams live on DAZN with prelims beginning at 6:30 PM ET and the Main Card at 10 PM ET.
Full Bellator 222 Fight Card
Welterweight Rory MacDonald (c) vs. Neiman Gracie
Light Heavyweight Lyoto Machida vs. Chael Sonnen
Bantamweight Darrion Caldwell (c) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Catchweight (175 lbs.) Dillon Danis vs. Max Humphrey
Bantamweight Eduardo Dantas vs. Juan Archuleta
Bantamweight Ricky Bandejas vs. Patrick Mix
Featherweight Aaron Pico vs. Adam Borics
Flyweight Brandon Polcare vs. Brandon Medina
Bantamweight Mike Kimbel vs. Sebastian Ruiz
Women’s Flyweight Heather Hardy vs. Taylor Turner
Welterweight Haim Gozali vs. Gustavo Wurlitzer
Middleweight Phil Hawes vs. Michael Wilcox
Catchweight (165 lbs.) Kastriot Xhema vs. Whitney Francois
Featherweight John Beneduce vs. Kenny Rivera
Welterweight Robson Gracie vs. Oscar Vera
Catchweight (112 lbs.) Rena Kubota vs. Lindsey VanZandt
Women’s Flyweight Valerie Loureda vs. Larkyn Dasch
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