It turns out that Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida will not serve as the main event of Bellator’s return to Madison Square Garden. Instead, Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie will be featured as the new main event for Bellator 222.
There were many fans who thought that Machida and Sonnen would headline, due to them being bigger names. It’s an interesting move considering all of the promotion for the show has been based around Machida and Sonnen. The news was first reported by MMA Junkie. Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida will instead be the co-main event.
MacDonald and Gracie’s bout has a lot more at stake, as it will serve as the Welterweight Grand Prix Semifinal fight. The winner is expected to face Douglas Lima in the grand finale.
Gracie advanced to the semi-finals with a fourth-round submission win over Ed Ruth at Bellator 213. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist made his mixed martial arts (MMA) debut in 2013 and has since racked up a pro-MMA record of 9-0.
In his last outing, the Bellator welterweight champion went to a majority draw with Jon Fitch in a Welterweight Grand Prix bout as part of Bellator 220.
Bellator 222 is set to take place on June 14, 2019, at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. The preliminary card will air online at 7:30 P.M. EST, while the main card will air on DAZN at 10:00 P.M. EST.
Here is the updated card for the show:
MAIN CARD (DAZN, 10 P.M. ET)
- Champ Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie – for welterweight title; welterweight grand prix semifinal
- Lyoto Machida vs. Chael Sonnen
- Champ Darrion Caldwell vs. Kyoji Horiguchi – for bantamweight title
- Dillon Danis vs. Max Humphrey
- Adam Borics vs. Aaron Pico
PRELIMINARY CARD (Online, 7:30 P.M. ET)
- Ricky Bandejas vs. Patrick Mix
- Brandon Medina vs. Brandon Polcare
- Mike Kimbel vs. Sebastian Ruiz
- Heather Hardy vs. Taylor Turner
- Haim Gozali vs. Gustavo Wurlitzer
- Phil Hawes vs. Michael Wilcox