Bellator 222, which takes place this weekend (Fri. June 14, 2019) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, will see Lyoto Machida meet Chael Sonnen in a light heavyweight affair.

Unlike previous Sonnen fights, even in his Bellator tenure, the build-up has been more respectful rather than involving back-and-forth trash talk. While some fighters prefer having a respectful build-up to a fight, Machida would have actually liked for Sonnen to ramp up the trash talk to help promote the fight further:

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“He’s very respectful of me, and I appreciate that,” Machida told MMA Junkie Radio. “But actually, I’d like him to promote the fight a little bit more, because he knows how to do that. I’m not worried about trash talk. If it’s going to be good for the fight, I’m OK, man.”

Machida enjoyed a successful Bellator debut last year when he defeated former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho via split decision. He will now look to make it two wins in a row, which could set him up for a rematch with current champion Gegard Mousasi.

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But despite his long and storied career in mixed martial arts (MMA), “The Dragon” still had jitters when he made his promotional debut. However, that’s no longer an issue:

“I was a little bit concerned about my first fight (in Bellator) because, as a fighter, you never know,” he added. “When you step into a different cage sometimes you can feel the pressure. My fight was against a very tough opponent, Rafael Carvalho, who’s a former middleweight champion. Now I can’t wait to step in there again.”

Bellator 222 will be headlined by a Welterweight Grand Prix semifinal between current 170-pound champion Rory MacDonald and Neiman Gracie.

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