NEW YORK – The line-up for the highly anticipated Bellator 222: MacDonald vs. Gracie eventhas 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 andfeatures 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)
*Card subject to change
Bellator is a leading global mixed martial arts and kickboxing promotion featuring many of the best athletes in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator events take place in major cities worldwide and can be seen on television in over 160 countries to an available audience of over one billion people. In the United States, Bellator can be seen on both Paramount Network and DAZN, the world's first truly dedicated LIVE sports streaming service. Bellator is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations. Bellator is based in Hollywood, Calif. and owned by entertainment giant Viacom, home to the world's premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.
DAZN is the largest global sports streaming platform in the world. Since launching in 2016, DAZN had expanded across four continents with the service available in the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Brazil. DAZN guarantees no long-term contract, no bundles, just affordable access to all the service's sports on connected devices including smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, games consoles and PCs. In the U.S., DAZN has made its mark as an attractive alternative to pay-per-view within the combat sports industry. The platform features more than 100 fight nights per year from Matchroom Boxing, Golden Boy Promotions, GGG Promotions, Bellator MMA, the World Boxing Super Series and Combate Americas. DAZN also features live MLB action each day of the season with its new daily show, ChangeUp.
About Paramount Network:
Paramount Network is a premium entertainment destination that pushes the limits of story-telling with bold original scripted and non-scripted series. Inspired by over a century of cinema, Paramount Network is where today's brightest stars bring the experience of the big screen to every screen with stories that are immersive, inclusive, and deeply personal.
Bellator MMA Main Event:MacDonald vs. GracieMore Info