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Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie to headline Bellator 222 over Chael Sonnen vs. Lyoto Machida

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Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie will feature as the new main event for Bellator 222.

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MMA: Bellator 220-Macdonald vs Fitch Dave Mandel-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a change of schedule for Bellator 222: Sonnen vs. Machida.

Now formerly Bellator 222: Sonnen vs. Machida, as it’s been reported by MMA Junkie that Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie will feature as the new main event at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Although most of the promotion for the event has been centred on Sonnen-Machida, this late change shouldn’t come as a surprise.

MacDonald, Bellator’s reigning welterweight champ, will defend his title against Gracie in the divisional grand prix semi-finals, with the winner expected to face Douglas Lima in the grand finale.

MacDonald last fought at Bellator 220, where he fought welterweight veteran Jon Fitch to a draw in the main event at San Jose’s Sap Center. Despite not winning the fight, MacDonald successfully retained his title and advanced to the tournament semi-finals.

Gracie, 30, also advanced to the semi-finals after his fourth-round submission win over Ed Ruth at Bellator 213. The BJJ specialist made his MMA debut in 2013 and has amassed a professional record of 9-0, finishing all his fights via submission.

Bellator 222: MacDonald vs. Gracie takes place next month, June 14 at Madison Square Garden, New York.