The Bellator welterweight title was up for grabs in the main event of Bellator 222, as reigning champion Rory MacDonald squared off with Neiman Gracie.
Rory MacDonald was making a quick turnaround, this after competing at April’s Bellator 220 event. There, ‘The Red King’ battled Jon Fitch to a draw, this retaining his welterweight title and advancing in the promotions welterweight tournament.
Meanwhile, Neiman Gracie entered Bellator 222 sporting a perfect professional record of 9-0. Gracie defeated Ed Ruth in his most recent appearance at Bellator 213 by submission.
Round one of the Bellator 222 main event begins and Neiman Gracie lands a big low kick. He shoots in for a takedown but Rory MacDonald stuffs it with ease. Rory throws a jab to the head and then one to the body. Gracie responds with low kicks. Good right over the top from Rory who continues to pump his jab. Round one goes to the champion.
Round two begins and Neiman Gracie lands another hard low kick. Gracie shoots in and gets the fight to the floor. He is work from the half guard of Rory MacDonald. ‘The Red King’ looks for a leg. Gracie responds with his own threat of a leg lock. Neiman rolls for a kneebar and Rory MacDonald escapes back to his feet. Gracie immediately shoots in for another takedown. MacDonald reverses him and winds up on top. Rory drops down a big right hand from full guard. MacDonald with some good ground and pound to close out round two.
Round three of the Bellator 222 main event begins and Rory MacDonald lands a hard right hand over the top. The Canadian lands a nice combination. Gracie responds with a pair of jabs. Gracie shoots in for a takedown but MacDonald stuffs it and proceeds to toss Neiman to the canvas. Rory working from side control now. Gracie rolls for an armbar and almost gets it but Rory escapes and remains on top. Round three comes to an end.
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Round four begins and Neiman Gracie presses forward with a combination that misses. Rory MacDonald eats a jab. Gracie shoots in for a takedown but is denied. Another attempt from Gracie and this time he gets on Rory’s back. He looks to lock in a body triable but MacDonald escapes and winds up in top position. Not much action here. Rory finally is able to posture up and land some shots. Round four comes to an end.
The fifth and final round of the Bellator 222 main event begins and Neiman Gracie comes out and gets a much needed takedown. He immediately moves to full mount on the champion, Rory MacDonald. ‘The Red King’ battles back to half guard. Under two minutes remain and Gracie likely needs a finish. Neiman looks for submissions but Rory is defending well. The horn sounds to end the fight.
Official Bellator 222 Result: Rory MacDonald defeats Neiman Gracie via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)