MCGRATH: In-person thoughts from Bellator 222

David McGrath MMATorch Contributor

Rory MacDonald (photo credit Joe Camporeale © USA Today Sports)

Bellator felt big!

This Bellator card felt like the biggest card in the history of the promotion. Everybody who is anybody in the MMA media was there to cover the event. Which is not typical for Bellator events. 

Grand Prix scheduling.

The most realistic time for the welterweight Grand Prix finale between Rory Macdonald and Douglas Lima is probably December. Unfortunately for Bellator, they will have to wait out that timeline. Realistically they are not going to strip MacDonald or replace him at this point. 

Pitbull to Rizin.

Sending Patricky Pitbull to Japan for Rizin’s lightweight Grand Prix in the fall is bold. Scott Coker does not get the credit for being a visionary when it comes to promoting his fighters and promotion. 

Coker trusted.

On Coker, the vibe I get from being around the fighters and cornermen is that he is trusted and respected by most around the organization.  

Fedor’s farewell.

Clearly Coker loves and respects Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor will do his swan song in the promotion and don’t be surprised if he faces Josh Barnett first. 

Kimble a future star.

Mike Kimble is for real. Also, from speaking to him last night, he is a star now, not in the making, right now. 

What is next for Pico?

I tweeted last night I don’t have many Aaron Pico is going to be okay stories left. Again, I will reiterate he had ZERO amateur experience and has come in and faced top competition, and he’s just 22. 

That being said I really hope they don’t book him into the featherweight Grand Prix which begins September 28 in Los Angeles. Pico should crush cans for awhile.

Darsch impresses. 

Utterly shocked Larkyn Darsch pushes Valerie Loureda to the limit last night on 2 weeks notice. Darsch called for the rematch, and Loureda told us she has no interest. Good on Darsch, she earned another fight. 

The Dragon vs The Dreamcatcher?

Lyoto Machida vs Gerard Mousasi next? Or Machida vs Bader? That was the big question last night. Not sure I have a lot of interest in either fight, frankly. 

TJ in good spirits.

Spoke with TJ Dillashaw last night during the presser, all I can report is that he’s in good spirits and he looked really good. The sling is off his arm and he’s having his other shoulder repaired in the coming weeks. 

Archuleta should be next for Horiguchi.

TJ was cornier Juan Archuleta, Who after another win, deserves the title shot next against Horiguchi, and he is willing to go to Japan to do it. 

Caldwell needs to be a featherweight.

Derrion Caldwell has lost twice now to Horiguchi. I would like to see him move to 145 and potentially enter the Grand Prix.

Rory looks good.

I picked against Rory MacDonald and boy, was I wrong. He out grappled a Gracie, and beat him at his own game. Look for Rory to heal up and be better against Douglas Lima, whenever that takes place.

Good time for Sonnen to say goodbye.

Chael Sonnen of course announced his retirement tonight. It’s the right move. He looked slow, and his media career has really taken off. He’s a very underrated analyst. 

Bellator on the rise.

All in all, a very successful Bellator card, and some very exciting announcements about the future of the promotion. I have always said they are one transcendent star from being neck and neck with the “Death Star” the UFC. Stay tuned. 

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