Bellator 222 will headline Lyoto Machida vs Chael Sonnen as the main event at Madison Square Garden on June 14, featuring Dillon Danis vs Max Humphrey, Neiman Gracie vs MacDonald or Fitch, also Heather Hardy will appear on a main card but her opponent hasn’t been announced yet.
Sonnen’s last fight ended in a defeat to Fedor Emelianenko by TKO at Bellator 208 in October with 4:46 left in the first round. Since leaving the UFC in 2017 and joining Bellator, critics question if the 42-year-old can continue his MMA career.
“I just want to compete. To be in the main event is very flattering. I wouldn’t manufacture anything with Machida, he’s a very respectful gentleman,” Sonnen said. “I always have my eye on Machida. He came over here at 185 pounds. So, I didn’t know this was going to happen. The venue isn’t as important to me, being able to compete is something special.”
“The Dragon” Machida made his debut at Bellator 213 in December, defeating Rafael Carvalho by split decision. The Brazilian southpaw currently owns a three-fight win streak, all victories coming from last year.
“So I’m so excited for this fight, and Chael [Sonnen] is so smart, so he gives me a lot of compliments you know? He makes me full of myself and I relax too much and he can take advantage of everything,” Machida said. “I don’t need to know anything, he knows how to promote the fight. I’ll just be here. This guy is amazing.”
Neiman Gracie holds an undefeated record with nine career fights, the last seven under the shield of Bellator. He resembles the dominance rooted in the Gracie family, winning eight out of his nine bouts by submission.
“If they [Rory MacDonald and Jon Fitch] train smart they will come in 100 percent,” Gracie said. “I want them to come in 100 percent. I don’t want any excuses. Whoever wins I will be ready for them.”
Heather Hardy awaits her opponent at Bellator 222 to be announced. The former professional boxer discussed her time off since beating Ana Julaton at Bellator 194 on February 2018.
“I never stopped kickboxing. I always do that for fun. My main focus until my world title fight was boxing,” Hardy said. “Come December there was talk of me fighting February in Mohegan Sun. I started training MMA as early as December. I’ve been back in the flow of doing all the things.”
“The Heat” Hardy has a plethora of professional boxing experience, 22-0 and held the title belts: WBO female featherweight title, NABF female featherweight title, WBC International female featherweight title. Currently, she holds a 3-1 record in Bellator – her loss came in October 2017 against Kristina Williams at Bellator 185.
Stay tuned for the announcement of Hardy’s opponent and other updates on Bellator 222.