Bellator 222, the promotion’s best card of the year, is here and Cageside Press has their picks set for the Madison Square Garden card.
|Jason Payne (88-40)|
|Joe McDonagh (87-41)|
|Heath Harshman (85-43)|
|Steve King (81-41)|
|Gabriel Gonzalez (80-48)|
|Keith Shillan (43-26)|
|Dan Doherty (79-49)|
|Josh Evanoff (78-50)|
|Ryan Fortune (42-26)|
|Paarth Pande (77-51)|
|Jay Anderson (77-51)|
The main event of Bellator 222 is a welterweight title fight between champion Rory MacDonald and challenger Neiman Gracie as a part of the welterweight grand prix. MacDonald is coming off a hard-fought draw against Jon Fitch just a few months ago. Gracie had a great performance against Ed Ruth in the first round of the tournament. MacDonald was slightly favored six picks to five.
Legends will square off in the co-main event as Chael Sonnen takes on former UFC champion Lyoto Machida. Sonnen is 2-2 in Bellator with wins over Rampage Jackson and Wanderlei Silva, while Machida is coming off a debut victory over Rafael Carvalho.
Dillon Danis, a top talent in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, will enter the cage for the second time against Max Humphrey. Danis is coming off a submission victory in his professional debut while Humphrey is 3-2 with three finishes. Danis was unanimously picked.
Top prospects from the east coast will battle it out as Ricky Bandejas fights Patrick Mix. Bandejas, a former CFFC champion is 1-1 in Bellator with a huge win over James Gallagher. Mix, on the other hand, is an undefeated King of the Cage champion making his promotional debut. All but one writer picked Bandejas.
A number-one contender fight for the bantamweight title takes place on the main card as Juan Archuleta battles Eduardo Dantas in a short-notice featherweight fight. Dantas is a former champion coming off a victory, while Archuleta is on an incredible 17-fight win streak with four of those wins coming in Bellator. Archuleta was unanimously picked.
Opening up the Bellator 222 main card, oddly enough, is a cross-promotional title fight between Bellator’s bantamweight champion, Darrion Caldwell, and RIZIN’s bantamweight champ, Kyoji Horiguchi. The pair fought in RIZIN several months ago, with Horiguchi winning by late submission. The loss snapped a four-fight win streak for Caldwell. Horiguchi is on a 12-fight win streak that dates back to 2015. Horiguchi was favored eight picks to three.