Titles on top: MacDonald v. Gracie to headline Bellator 222 in NYC
Fighting on short notice, MacDonald will be facing a fresh Gracie, who is an early favorite to win the Welterweight Grand Prix.
Traditionally, a title bout would main event a premier event, whether it be for MMA, boxing or pro wrestling. In regards to MMA, there are some occasions when a showcase fight will take priority over a title fight. Originally in that mindset, Bellator President Scott Coker had a change of heart.
Bellator 222’s main event inside Madison Square Garden was supposed to be Chael Sonnen v. Lyoto Machida. Now, that match has been pushed to co-main event status in favor of Rory MacDonald v. Neiman Gracie. MMA Junkie were the first to report the news.
MacDonald (20-5-1) will be defending his Welterweight Championship in the semifinals of the Welterweight Grand Prix. He barely beat Jon Fitch at Bellator 220, which took place on April 27th. The fight ended in a majority decision draw, but due to MacDonald being the champion he was able to advance.
Gracie (9-0) last fought in December, beating Ed Ruth via rear-naked choke. A member of the legendary Gracie family, Neiman is going to be fresh in this fight. Some would say he is the true favorite to win the entire tournament.
The fight may be questionable considering the timing, but Bellator has been planning this for quite some time. Having an important title fight on last is valid. As for Sonnen and Machida, they will get their moment to shine, but if they aren’t fighting for anything a “demotion” may have been necessary.
Bellator 222 takes place on June 14th and tickets are currently still available. You can buy your tickets now at the MSG box office and at Ticketmaster.com.
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