Bellator 222 will take place tomorrow and shall feature a lineup as strong as any of the events that Scott Coker and co. have put on in recent memory.
We’ve already broken down exactly why you need to tune in to this fantastic card in a separate article that can be read here.
So without further ado, here’s our official prediction for some of the highlights of Bellator 222.
Aaron Pico vs. Adam Borics
Pico has certainly lost some of the wind in his sails after another brutal defeat that showed his inexperience. Let’s get things straight, though, this man is a super-prospect in every sense of the word and remains of the brightest stars at Scott Coker’s disposal. A few tweaks here and there and this guy will be great – something that his recent move to JacksonWink MMA should help him with. Expect violence.
Prediction: Pico via first-round KO
Eduardo Dantas vs. Juan Archuleta
Dantas is one of the most underrated fighters on the Bellator roster. A former champion who has only lost out to the cream of the crop in recent times, he’ll come up against another incredibly underrated talent in the form of the streaking Juan Archuleta – a man who has won his last sixteen straight. Overall, I see this being a close fight between two guys who could well be taking a shot at the title next time around, although Dantas should have enough in his locker to re-insert his name into the mix.
Prediction: Dantas via decision
Darrion Caldwell vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
This could well be the fight of the night by the time all is said and done and in many ways, it’s a lot more significant than most understand it to be. Their first matchup at RIZIN 14 was one that saw the setting play a very prominent role. Caldwell, who, of course, fights in the Bellator cage, did struggle to adapt to the squared circle that was the RIZIN ring. In the end, Horiguchi was able to find the submission and through that, he continued his highly impressive run of late. I expect him to be able to do the same on enemy turf. I have been so impressed with his development and I would honestly give him a shot against any 125lb or 135lb fighter in the world.
Prediction: Horiguchi via second-round TKO
Dillon Danis vs. Max Humphrey
Love him or hate him, Dillon Danis is a promising talent. We may not get the opportunity to see him in action against any opposition of real merit for a while but let’s be real, it’s his second fight and in Max Humphrey, he’s up against a guy with more experience who should test him. Not that I’m expecting him to win, but at this point in Dillon Danis’ career, fighting anyone will do and I believe that he’ll get the perfect opportunity to score another highlight-reel submission.
Prediction: Danis via second-round submission
Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida
It’s honestly crazy that Chael Sonnen is still fighting and taking home victories. The man is an icon who is as relevant in the sport today as he has ever been through both his work on the ESPN desk and his massively popular YouTube account. The thing is, he’s facing a guy, in Lyoto Machida, who is still more than capable of shutting his lights out. This would have been a bad matchup for Chael when these two were in their prime and now, I honestly can’t see past Lyoto’s technical edge and the vicious knockout that comes as a result of it.
Prediction: Machida via first-round TKO
Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie
Rory should win this one. I have no doubt that he remains one of the finest welterweights in the sport on his day – even with all of the damage he has sustained in recent times. The thing is, both his performance and post-fight comments after taking Jon Fitch to a draw just two months ago, as well as his meek defeat to Gegard Mousasi, seem to suggest that The Red King is on the decline. I like the chances of the upset here, Gracie is a top class grappler who could nullify MacDonald enough to take this one.
Prediction: Gracie via decision
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena