Bellator MMA is back for the first of two consecutive weekends of combat sports action with Bellator 222 (Friday night, 10 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. PDT on DAZN.) Highlighting the Friday night card is the second semifinal in the Bellator MMA Welterweight Grand Prix Tournament.
In the main event, incumbent champion Rory MacDonald (20-5-1) battles challenger Neiman Gracie (9-0.) The winner of the main event clinches a berth in the Grand Prix Final, where he will face Douglas Lima, who scored a second-round TKO vs. Michael Page on May 11 in Bellator 221 in Chicago on DAZN.
In addition, along with the co-main event between Chael Sonnen (30-16-1) and Lyoto Machida (25-8) in the Light Heavyweight ranks, Bellator 222 will feature a fight between incumbent champion Darrion Caldwell (13-1) and challenger Kyoji Horiguchi (27-2) for the Bellator MMA Bantamweight title.
This is the second head-to-head meeting between the two, as they fought one another in their last fight on New Year’s Eve in RIZIN 14 for that promotion’s Bantamweight title, a third-round guillotine choke submission by Horiguchi.
Bellator MMA Bantamweight Championship: Darrion Caldwell vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Heading into this title fight, Darrion Caldwell is the taller contestant, standing 5-foot-10, six inches taller than Kyoji Horiguchi at 5-foot-4.
Champion Caldwell has posted a record of 4-1 in his last fived mixed martial arts appearances. In the other corner, challenger Horiguchi has posted a perfect 5-0 record in his last five MMA appearances.
The Tale of the Tape
Tapology shows that Caldwell owns an eight-inch reach advantage (74 inches to 66 inches) heading into the main event.
Prediction: Kyoji Horiguchi by first-round knockout.
Main event: Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie
Heading into the main event, both contestants stand at six feet even.
Champion MacDonald has posted a 2-2-1 record in his last five MMA fights, with his most recent contest resulting in a majority draw against Jon Fitch in Bellator 220’s headliner on Apr. 27.
In the other corner, Neiman Gracie has yet to lose in his professional career. Last time out, he defeated Ed Ruth on Dec. 15 in Bellator 213 (fourth-round submission- rear-naked choke) in Honolulu to advance to this semifinal.
The Tale of the Tape
Tapology shows that Rory MacDonald owns a three-inch reach advantage (76 inches to 73 inches) heading into the fight.
Prediction: Rory MacDonald by first-round knockout.
Other fights on Friday’s main card:
Dillon Danis (1-0) vs. Max Humphrey (3-2) [catchweight at 175 lbs.]
Ricky Bandejas (11-2) vs. Patrick Mix (10-0) [Bantamweight]
Eduardo Dantas (21-6) vs. Juan Archuleta (21-1) [Featherweight]
Bellator 222 at a Glance
Prelims: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT, DAZN
Main Card: Friday, 10 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. PDT, DAZN
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