By Chad Cooper
Bellator 222’s main card is stacked. Not only is it worth the watch exclusively on the DAZN streaming service, there are betting odds for us degenerates. The main card begins at 9 p.m. CST live from Madison Square Garden plus there are a few prelim fights worth watching as well.
Main Event – Rory MacDonald (20-5-1) vs. Neiman Gracie (9-0)
Odds: MacDonald (-170), Gracie (+140)
Not only is Rory’s Welterweight World Title on the line, this is the Semifinals of Bellator’s Welterweight World Grand Prix Tournament. While in the UFC, MacDonald was involved in one of the most gruesome MMA fights of all time in 2015 with Robbie Lawler. Fighters are never the same after a war like that.
Since coming to Bellator, MacDonald is 2-1-1. His last fight with Jon Fitch was a draw and raised eyebrows during his post-fight press conference that is was much harder to hurt opponents after his new connection with religion. Gracie is a 4th generation member of the Gracie family and 4th degree BJJ black belt. He is 7-0 in Bellator and his opponents have had no answer for his BJJ game. I’m not the biggest fan of BJJ, but Rory needs to reach deep with an impressive win. If you can’t punch a guy in the face, it’s time to find new work.
PICK: MacDonald TKO, 3rd
Lyoto Machida (25-8) vs. Chael Sonnen (31-16-1)
Odds: Machida (-340), Sonnen (+260)
Tent pole fight for Bellator, who are known for throwing old guys into the cage. This reminds me of the recent WWE’s match of Goldberg vs. The Undertaker. Machida, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, is 41 and Sonnen is 42. It’s hard to take Sonnen seriously in the cage.
He did elevate Anderson Silva’s status back in the UFC, but hasn’t done much. One of the best trash talkers in the game, though. No value with Machida, so if you go with “The American Gangster” you gotta hope for Sonnen to tame the Dragon.
PICK: Machida KO, 1st
Darrion Caldwell (13-2) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (27-2)
Odds: Caldwell (-160), Horiguchi (+130)
It’s a rematch between Bellator bantamweight champion “The Wolf” Caldwell and RIZIN bantamweight title holder Horiguchi. The two hooked up in December in Japan and dominated Horiguchi, but got caught late with a guillotine and had to submit. I think there is enough value for Caldwell and him get revenge and become a “Champ Champ.” Hoping for no Wolf Tickets.
PICK: Caldwell UD
Dillon Danis (1-0) vs. Max Humphrey (3-2)
Odds: Danis (-800), Humphrey (+500)
This is a jobber match for Max Humphrey aka Barry Horowitz. He will get a decent payday to lose to Dillon Danis, a grappling world champion and loud mouth. Danis is one of the main instigators in the McGregor-Khabib brawl at UFC 229. This fast will be quicker than the donnybrook.
PICK: Danis SUB, 1st
Ricky Badejas (11-2) vs. Patrick Mix (10-0)
Odds: Badejas (-130), Mix (+100)
I love a good undefeated underdog and we get one here with Patrick Mix who trains at the highly-touted Roufusport, so look for multiple takedown attempts. He has finished 60% of his fights by submission. Badejas is coming off a loss against Juan Archuleta, who is also on this card.
PICK: Mix SUB, 2nd
Eduardo Dantas (21-6) vs. Juan Archuleta (22-1)
Odds: Archuleta (-250), Dantas (+190)
Dantas is a former Bellator Bantamweight World Champ and moves up to featherweight to face a dude who has won 17 consecutive fights and is also a KO artist. Bad news for Dantas
PICK: Archuleta TKO, 3rd
There are several prelims worth noting – Aaron Pico (4-2) vs. Adam Borics (12-0), Heather Hardy (2-1) and who could forget the lovely Valerie Louredo (1-0).