Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie from Bellator 222’s main event was a reasonably competitive fight.
MacDonald was the better striker on the feet, but he did eat a few leg kicks along the way. What made the match exciting was MacDonald’s willingness to grapple with Gracie. Watching him hold his own with a Jiu-Jitsu specialist was a real treat to watch and further proof of just how elite MacDonald really is. MacDonald was able to find top position multiple times and was able to dish out some punishment without getting himself submitted. Not only does MacDonald get to keep his 170-pound title, but he will also get to meet former two-time champ Douglas Lima for a rematch in the final round of Bellator’s welterweight Grand Prix.
What was the highlight of the fight?
The highlight of the fight was watching MacDonald navigate the ground with Gracie and doing so successfully. Gracie threw up a few leg locks and an armbar attempt, and it was a lot of fun seeing how MacDonald remained calm and escaped the situations. It’s like we all knew MacDonald could probably hang on the ground with Gracie, but seeing him actually do it was pretty cool.
Where do these two go from here?
MacDonald has another date with Douglas Lima, but this time in Bellator’s welterweight Grand Prix finals. The first time these welterweights went to war at Bellator 192 back in January of 2018. MacDonald walked away with the unanimous decision.
The future looks bright for Gracie. He came into this major step up in competition undefeated, and was rather game throughout. He even won a round on one of the scorecards, and two rounds on two of the scorecards. There is plenty of talent in Bellator’s welterweight division to provide some unique and interesting challenges for Gracie. A sweet matchup might even be a bout between him and fellow BJJ guru Dillon Danis. So long as they don’t try and strike it out for the entire 15-minutes. Woof.
Watch now, later, or never?
You can watch this never. Grappling isn’t for everyone, especially when it’s mostly positional control and far from a sub-fest. There is plenty to enjoy in the fight for the true fight-nerds, but not a lot in terms of highlight material. There weren’t a lot of moments where the fight was close to being stopped. This one is okay to skip. Just keep in mind that MacDonald held his own on the ground and Gracie held his own on the feet, both of which are equally impressive.