It’s been known since February since Chael Sonnen would be fighting former UFC champion Lyoto Machida on a Bellator card, but now we have a date and venue.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported on Thursday that Sonnen vs. Machida will be part of an event that will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Friday, June 14th. The card has yet to be numbered and broadcast details are not known, but it’ll either be simulcast on Paramount Network and DAZN or air exclusively on DAZN.
Sonnen (31-16-1) advanced to the semifinals of Bellator’s heavyweight tournament, having beaten Quinton Jackson in the quarterfinals, but he lost by first-round TKO against the great Fedor Emelianenko. The three-time UFC title challenger made his Bellator debut in 2017 and headlined the promotion’s last trip to MSG, a unanimous decision win over Wanderlei Silva in a pay-per-view main event.
Machida (25-8) made his first Bellator MMA appearance back in December, winning a split decision over former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho. “The Dragon” ended his UFC career with a tremendous front kick KO of Vitor Belfort at UFC 224 last May, then opted to join Bellator in free agency. After suffering three straight stoppage losses to Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, and Derek Brunson, the 40-year-old is now on a three-fight winning streak.
Sonnen vs. Machida will be contested at light heavyweight, which will mark Lyoto’s first bout at 205 lbs since losing a split decision to Phil Davis back in August 2013.