The line-up for the highly anticipated Bellator 222: MacDonald vs. Gracie event has been completed with two title fights and 18 electric bouts in total filling out Bellator’s return to Madison Square Garden this Friday, June 14 – only on DAZN. The star-studded card is headlined by a double main event that will see a Welterweight World Grand Prix semi-final matchup between current Bellator welterweight world champion Rory MacDonald (20-5-1) defending his title against the unbeaten Renzo Gracie-trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Neiman Gracie (9-0), as well as two of the sport’s biggest names in Lyoto Machida (25-8) and Chael Sonnen (31-16-1) finally meeting after years of parallel careers in the MMA world.
The main card of Bellator 222 will stream live exclusively on DAZN at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, while preliminary action begins at 6:30 p.m. EST/3:30 p.m. PST and will also stream on DAZN or globally on the Bellator Mobile App.
The DAZN-streamed main card also features Darrion Caldwell (13-2) defending his Bellator bantamweight world title against Rizin Fighting Federation’s bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi (27-2) in a true “champion vs. champion” matchup, following a Horiguchi submission victory when the two met in Rizin’s ring this past December in Japan, as well as a 175-pound catchweight contest between polarizing grappling ace Dillon Danis (1-0) and Max Humphrey (3-2). Additionally, fans will see an intriguing featherweight bout featuring former Bellator 135-pound champion Eduardo Dantas (21-6) making the leap to 145-pounds in an attempt to hand Juan Archuleta (21-1) the first loss of his Bellator career, while Ricky Bandejas (11-2) welcomes unbeaten Patrick Mix (10-0) at bantamweight.
Preliminary action for Bellator 222 is also must-see and features many of Bellator’s rising stars. Those who tune in will see bouts highlighted by Aaron Pico (4-2) versus Adam Borics (12-0) at 145-pounds, as well as a second inter-promotional contest pitting Rena of Rizin (8-2) against Lindsay VanZandt (5-1) in a 112-pound catchweight fight. Bellator 222 will also see the return of “The Heat” to MSG, when world champion boxer Heather Hardy (2-1) faces Taylor Turner (3-5) at flyweight. Familiar faces in Mike Kimbel (2-1), Robson Gracie Jr. (1-0) and Haim Gozali (10-6) will all also compete, while former The Ultimate Fighter participant Phil Hawes (4-2) will make his promotional debut. Lastly, it was recently announced that undefeated Taekwondo Master Valerie Loureda (1-0) will make her sophomore appearance when she welcomes Larkyn Dasch (0-1) to the Bellator cage on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
Bellator 222 Main Card:
Welterweight World Grand Prix Semifinal Title Bout: Rory MacDonald (20-5-1) vs. Neiman Gracie (9-0)
Light Heavyweight Co-Main Event Bout: Lyoto Machida (25-8) vs. Chael Sonnen (31-16-1)
175-Pound Catchweight Bout: Dillon Danis (1-0) vs. Max Humphrey (3-2)
Bantamweight Bout: Ricky Bandejas (11-2) vs. Patrick Mix (10-0)
Featherweight Bout: Eduardo Dantas (21-6) vs. Juan Archuleta (22-1)
Bantamweight World Title Bout: Darrion Caldwell (13-2) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (27-2)
Featherweight Bout: Aaron Pico (4-2) vs. Adam Borics (12-0)
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Heather Hardy (2-1) vs. Taylor Turner (3-5)
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Valerie Loureda (1-0) vs. Larkyn Dasch (0-1)
Welterweight Bout: Robson Gracie Jr. (1-0) vs. Oscar Vera (Pro Debut)
Bantamweight Bout: Mike Kimbel (2-1) vs. Sebastian Ruiz (2-2)
175-Pound Catchweight Bout: Haim Gozali (10-6) vs. Gustavo Wurlitzer (22-22, 1 NC)
Women’s 112-Pound Catchweight Bout: Rena Kubota (8-2) vs. Lindsay VanZandt (5-1)
Middleweight Bout: Phil Hawes (4-2) vs. Michael Wilcox (6-3)
Lightweight Bout: Marcus Surin (5-1) vs. Nekruz Mirkhojaev (4-2)
Flyweight Bout: Brandon Medina (Pro Debut) vs. Brandon Polcare (1-2)
165-Pound Catchweight Bout: Kastriot Xhema (2-3) vs. Whitney Jean Francois (2-6-1)
Featherweight Bout: John Beneduce (2-2) vs. Kenny Rivera (2-1)