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Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie to headline Bellator 222

Rory MacDonald
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A championship bout will close out Bellator 222.

Officials confirmed Tuesday that Rory MacDonald’s welterweight title defense against unbeaten challenger Neiman Gracie will headline Bellator 222, with a light heavyweight bout between Lyoto Machida and Chael Sonnen serving as the co-main event.

The bout order had been in question given the star power of Machida, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, and Sonnen, who has been the headliner in all four of his appearances for Bellator. A heavyweight matchup between Sonnen and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was given main event billing over MacDonald’s duel with welterweight champion Douglas Lima the last time Sonnen and MacDonald were on the same card for Bellator 208.

MacDonald’s and Gracie’s clash will also serve as a semifinal bout in the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix, with the winner going on to fight Lima in the finals.

Also featured on the Bellator 222 main card, bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell looks to avenge a loss against Rizin Fighting Federation champion Kyoji Horiguchi, Dillon Danis meets Max Humphrey in a 175-pound catchweight bout, and former bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas moving up to featherweight to face Juan Archuleta.

Featherweight prospects Aaron Pico and Adam Borics will close out the preliminaries, which will also feature Mike Kimbel, Heather Hardy, Robson Gracie Jr., and the Bellator debut of Rizin star Rena Kubota.

Bellator 222 takes place on June 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York City and it will air live on the DAZN streaming service.

See the updated card below:

Main Card (DAZN, 10 p.m. ET)

Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie
Lyoto Machida vs. Chael Sonnen
Darrion Caldwell vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Eduardo Dantas vs. Juan Archuleta
Dillon Danis vs. Max Humphrey

Preliminaries (DAZN, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Aaron Pico vs. Adam Borics
Ricky Bandejas vs. Patrick Mix
Brandon Polcare vs. Brandon Medina
Mike Kimbel vs. Sebastian Ruiz
Heather Hardy vs. Taylor Turner
Haim Gozali vs. Gustavo Wurlitzer
Phil Hawes vs. Michael Wilcox
Kastriot Xhema vs. Whitney Francois
John Beneduce vs. Kenny Rivera
Robson Gracie Jr. vs. Oscar Vera
Rena Kubota vs. Lindsey VanZandt

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