Bellator MMA returns to San Jose, California for Bellator 220 on Saturday, April 27. The card will feature a championship double-header in the welterweight and women’s flyweight divisions.
In the main event, the welterweight Grand-Prix rolls on as we will see our first championship bout of the tournament. Bellator’s welterweight title holder, Rory MacDonald, returns to 170 after a brief stint at middleweight to put his title on the line against Jon Fitch.
In the co-main event, women’s flyweight champion, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, will look to defend her title for the third consecutive time. She will look to keep her undefeated professional record alive, putting her title on the line against Veta Arteaga.
The main card includes names from top-to-bottom in what promises to be an exciting night. With that being said, here are previews for all five fights on the main card, starting in the lightweight division.
Bellator 220 Main Card Preview
Gaston Bolanos vs. Nathan Stolen
We kick things off with a fight between good looking prospects that can both end a fight in an instant. Gaston Bolanos and Nathan Stolen have finished in all of their wins, with a combined ten knockouts and two submissions between the two.
After a storied muay thai career that saw him win championships in the United States and South America, Bolanos made the move to MMA. He made his professional MMA debut after going 1-0 as an amateur at Bellator 172 when he faced Abner Perez. He defeated Perez that night by TKO in the first round.
“The Dreamkiller” would go on to lose his next fight but would return with one of the most spectacular knockouts you will ever see. He faced Ryan Gutierrez at Bellator 189 and in just over a minute, he landed a perfectly timed spinning elbow that would knock Gutierrez out cold. His last appearance came at Bellator 206 when he defeated Ysidro Gutierrez by second round knockout.
Stolen began his career undefeated at 6-0 before running into Ultimate Fighter veteran and Division 1 wrestler Tyler Diamond at Tachi PF 31. Diamond handed Stolen his first professional loss, taking him to the judge’s scorecards and ultimately winning by unanimous decision. Since the loss, Stolen has been on a bit of a skid as he’s only won two of his last five. In his last appearance, he made his Bellator debut when he faced Andrew Cruz at Bellator 205. He lost the fight in the first round after being submitted with an armbar.
Phil Davis vs. Liam McGeary
Up next, two former Bellator light heavyweight champions face off for the second time. UFC vet and former Bellator light heavyweight Grand-Prix winner, Phil Davis, takes on Liam McGeary, nearly two and a half years since their first meeting.
The pair first met at Bellator 163 as McGeary attempted to defend his title for the second time. His first title defense came at Bellator 142, when he defeated former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, finishing him with an inverted triangle choke in round one.
During their first fight, Davis relied a lot on his wrestling game. He was connecting with good strikes while standing but would eventually take McGeary down. Davis landed some good ground and pound that included hard elbows while also searching for a submission every now and then. He landed more ground strikes than McGeary at a total of 46 to 10. Davis would earn the unanimous decision, winning every round on all three judges scorecards, and earning at least one 10-8 round on two scorecards.
Since losing his title to Davis, McGeary has gone 2-2 with two TKO wins, one TKO loss, and one submission loss. His most recent appearance was at Bellator 213 as he faced former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, Muhammed Lawal. He defeated him that night in the third round, knocking him down with a hard right hand, forcing the ref to step in quickly and stop the fight. He’ll look to get the win back against Davis and even up the score.
As for the man that emerged from the first fight as champ, Davis has also gone 2-2, losing his belt in his first defense. That first defense came at Bellator 180 when he faced former UFC light heavyweight, Ryan Bader. Bader took a split decision from Davis, scoring a 49-46 on two judge’s scorecards, while the remaining judge scored it 48-47 for Davis. In his most recent appearance, Davis faced Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 209, losing to him by split decision. Look for Davis to possibly rely on his wrestling again as he looks to get through McGeary once again.
Benson Henderson vs. Adam Piccolotti
After thirteen professional fights, Adam Piccolotti will face his most notable opponent yet. That opponent is former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, Benson Henderson, who will make his 7th Bellator appearance. This pair of fighters like to look for the submission as they have a combined sixteen submission victories.
Henderson is a well known veteran in the MMA world, having made his pro debut in 2006. During his storied career, he has faced many key names including Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz, Frankie Edgar, and Rafael dos Anjos. He won the WEC lightweight championship in 2010 when he defeated Jamie Varner by submission to unify the title. After his WEC career, he would compete in the UFC where he won the title in 2012, defeating Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision. After losing the title to Anthony Pettis at UFC 164, he went 4-2 in his final six UFC fights before making the move to Bellator.
He made his debut in a welterweight title fight against then champion, Andrey Koreshkov. He would lose the fight by unanimous decision. After that he would win three of his next five, one of those losses coming in a lightweight championship fight with Michael Chandler. His most recent outing came at Bellator 208, when he defeated Saad Awad by unanimous decision.
Piccolotti made his Bellator debut in 2015 when he defeated Andrew Ramm, defeating him by unanimous decision to remain undefeated at 5-0. Since his debut, he’s gone 6-2, losing his first career fights back-to-back after going 9-0. He is currently riding a two fight winning streak, defeating Carrington Banks and James Terry. His most recent outing was against Terry at Bellator 206 when he defeated him by unanimous decision.
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Veta Arteaga
In our first championship of the night, the women’s flyweight title will be on the line. The undefeated champion, Hawaii’s own, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will look to defend her title for a third straight time. Her next challenger will be Veta Arteaga, who enters the contest with a record of 5-2.
Macfarlane made her Bellator debut in 2015 after starting her career just 1-0. She won five straight fights, including three submission finishes. Macfarlane got her shot at the title in 2017 when she faced Emily Ducote for the inaugural women’s flyweight title. She defeated Ducote, and captured gold after submitting her opponent with an armbar in the final round. Since winning the title, she has defended her belt two times. The first of her title defenses came at Bellator 201 when she defeated Alejandra Lara, adding another armbar finish to her record, ending it in round three. Her most recent defense was against former UFC strawweight title challenger, Valerie Letourneau at Bellator 213. “The Ilimanator” won her fourth straight fight by submission that night as she finished Letourneau with a triangle choke in round three.
Similar to Macfarlane, Arteaga has been fighting in the Bellator cage since her second pro fight. Her debut came in 2016 at Bellator 155 when she defeated Jackie Vandenburgh by unaimous decision. Since her debut, she has put together a record of 3-2 in her last four, including a TKO finish over Brooke Mayo at Bellator 172. She recently faced off against Denise Kieholtz at Bellator 205, as she defeated her with a standing guillotine in the second round for her second straight victory. Arteaga will want to stay away from the submission game of Macfarlane as she looks to capture a title for the first time in her pro career.
Rory MacDonald vs. Jon Fitch
The champion will officially enter the Bellator welterweight grand-prix in the main event this Saturday. Former UFC welterweight title challenger and current Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald draws MMA veteran Jon Fitch, in the quarterfinals.
What’s at stake:
On the line will be a semifinal match-up with the undefeated Neiman Gracie. Gracie won his quarterfinal fight against three-time national wrestling champion Ed Ruth at Bellator 213. Gracie now awaits the winner of Saturday’s main event as they expect to meet at Bellator 222 on June 14.
Fitch has been a professional since 2002 owning notable wins over fighters like Thiago Alves, Diego Sanchez, Erick Silva, and Paul Daley. Back in 2008, at UFC 87, he challenged Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight championship, losing by unanimous decision. After a long career in the UFC, Fitch would make the move to the WSOF. There, he would win the WSOF welterweight title, that he defended twice. He would then vacate the title after he announced that he signed with Bellator in 2018. It was announced that he would make his debut against heavy-hitting Paul Daley. Fitch controlled the fight with his wrestling to defeat Daley by unanimous decision. He will attempt to use his wrestling to take the title from the champion, Rory MacDonald.
MacDonald faced a lot of big names during his time in the UFC. He currently holds notable wins over fighters like Tyron Woodley, Nate Diaz, and BJ Penn. After a good career in the UFC, Rory MacDonald announced that he’d be signing with Bellator in August 2016. About seven months later, MacDonald would make his debut in the main event of Bellator 179 against Paul Daley. He utilized his wrestling and his jiu jitsu skills in his fight against Daley, finishing him with a rear naked choke in round two.
After defeating Daley, he was awarded a title shot at Bellator 192 against the champion, Douglas Lima. The fight was very close, with MacDonald’s leg getting battered, however the win was given to MacDonald by unanimous decision. After defeating Lima, MacDonald challenged middleweight champion, Gegard Mousasi to a champion vs. champion fight. Mousasi accepted the challenge and the pair met at Bellator 206, as Mousasi put his middleweight title on the line. Unfortunately, MacDonald would end up losing to Mousasi in the second round by TKO.
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