It all goes down TONIGHT (Fri., June 14, 2019) at Bellator 222: “MacDonald vs. Gracie” from inside Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. The Welterweight title is up for grabs as Rory MacDonald (20-5-1) puts his title up against undefeated Welterweight Grand Prix semifinalist Neiman Gracie (9-0).
Fate would intervene to advance “The Red King” to this round of the tournament as MacDonald advanced via draw in a fight that left more questions than answers. That gift from the Gods is not as likely to come against the hungry Gracie, a highly decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist who wants to add a world title to his trophy case full of gold medals. All but one of his opponents have been defeated by submission thus far.
There’s something to be said for experience, though. MacDonald has faced some of the most venerated Welterweights on Earth during both his UFC and Bellator runs. He holds wins over Nate Diaz, B.J. Penn, and Tyron Woodley to name a few and took the title off “The Phenom” Douglas Lima in only his second Bellator fight. Whoever advances will not only be carrying that world title, but the burden of having to face Douglas Lima in the tournament finals.
What would have been a dream match for Lyoto Machida and Chael Sonnen during their respective UFC heydays is finally going to happen in the confines of The Garden. “The Dragon” Machida was successful in his promotional debut in Dec. 2018, but suffered a broken nose in the process. “The American Gangster” Sonnen has to be happy to not face a Heavyweight this time around, but if his takedowns aren’t as effective as they were against Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson, Machida’s unorthodox striking could ruin his night.
The notorious Dillon Danis (1-0) will once again put his submission skills to work against Max Humphrey (3-2) on a main card. While Bellator has seemingly hand-picked opponents for Danis to succeed, Humphrey joined the renowned Jackson-Wink MMA team and promises to show the trash talking loudmouth that “silence is golden” on Friday night. They’ll be joined by a Rizin 14 rematch as Darrion Caldwell (13-2) puts his Bantamweight title up against Kyoji Horiguchi (27-2) on what is looking to be an extremely loaded card.
Aaron Pico (4-2) was featured on the first Bellator card at MSG, but after a tough loss to Henry Corrales he’s been relegated to “Prelims” undercard action against Adam Borics (8-0). Going 4-3 would not be the end of the youngster’s career, but he’d certainly have a much harder time getting on “tent pole” evens like this one. While bouts like Eduardo Dantas vs. Juan Archuleta and Ricky Bandejas vs. Patrick Mix provide intrigue for the hardcore Bellator fan, their appeal to a casual audience who will tune in for MacDonald, Sonnen, Gracie or even the loudmouth Danis is limited right now. Great performances on Friday could change that.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
While the “Prelims” undercard has steadily grown with each passing week leading up to this weekend, the biggest change to the main card was simply to bump Machida vs. Sonnen out of the top spot and give it to the Welterweight Grand Prix semifinalists instead. Injuries and illness have not derailed this card, so knock on wood if you’re feeling superstitious.
Take a look below at Bellator 222’s complete fight card lineup and start times below:
Main Card (DAZN) — 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT
Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie
Lyoto Machida vs. Chael Sonnen
Darrion Caldwell vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Dillon Danis vs. Max Humphrey
Eduardo Dantas vs. Juan Archuleta
Ricky Bandejas vs. Patrick Mix
“Prelims” Undercard (DAZN) — 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT
Aaron Pico vs. Adam Borics
Heather Hardy vs. Taylor Turner
Brandon Polcare vs. Brandon Medina
Phil Hawes vs. Michael Wilcox
Mike Kimbel vs. Sebastian Ruiz
Robson Gracie vs. Oscar Vera
John Beneduce vs. Kenny Rivera
Kastroit Xhema vs. Whitney Francois
Rena Kubota vs. Lindsey VanZandt
Haim Gozali vs. Gustavo Wurlitzer
Valerie Loureda vs. Larkyn Dasch
Marcus Surin vs. Nekruz Mirkhojaev
Here are all the ways to catch the action:
- Bellator 222: “MacDonald vs. Gracie” early “Prelims” can be viewed on DAZN via your MAC/PC, smartphone, or multiple other streaming devices.
- Subscriptions cost $19.99 per month for new app members eager to catch “MacDonald vs. Gracie” later this evening.
- Bellator 222 will be streamable online via DAZN. That’s it! Sign up today if you don’t want to miss “MacDonald vs. Gracie” in an epic title fight.
- Dave & Buster’s is the official sports bar of Bellator MMA, but as this card is a DAZN exclusive, I wouldn’t guarantee they are carrying it. Nevertheless, for a list of locations across the United States to find one in your area CLICK HERE.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire Bellator 222 fight card, starting with DAZN “Prelims” undercard bouts at 6:30 p.m. ET before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET also on DAZN.