Bellator 220 takes place on April 27 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. The event features two intriguing title fights.
In the main event, champion Rory MacDonald will defend his title in the first bracket of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix against Jon Fitch, who has previously contested for UFC gold. MacDonald and Fitch have a combined 52 wins out of 65 professional fights.
The co-main event showcases one of the best female mixed martial artists on the planet when Ilima-Lei MacFarlane defends her flyweight crown against dangerous top contender Veta Arteaga.
Bellator 220 Fight Card
Main Card (10 p.m EST on DAZN)
- Rory MacDonald vs. Jon Fitch – Welterweight title 🏆
- Ilima-Lei MacFarlane vs. Veta Arteaga – Women’s Flyweight title 🏆
- Phil Davis vs. Liam McGeary
- Benson Henderson vs. Adam Piccolotti
- Gaston Bolanos vs. Nathan Stolen
Preliminary Card (7:30 p.m EST on DAZN)
- Mandel Nallo vs. Danasabe Mohammed
- Diego Herzog vs. Jordan Williams
- Tom Ponce De Leon vs. Jamario Mulder
- Justin Tenedora vs. Matt Perez
- Abraham Vaesau vs. Justin Roswell
- Aviv Gozali vs. Travis Crain
- Josh San Diego vs. Brandon Laroco
- Boris Novachkov vs. Chris Inocencio
- Ignacio Ortiz vs. Roger Severson
- Chris Avila vs. Brandon Faumui
- Chuck Campbell vs. Bruno Casillas
Bellator 220 Preview
Rory MacDonald vs. Jon Fitch
When Bellator announced the array of talent participating in their Welterweight Grand Prix, it was hard to think of a fight that you wouldn’t want to see the champion Rory MacDonald (20-5) competing in. “The Red King” has the ability to make each and every fight entertaining; he kicked the door of Bellator wide open in 2017, submitting Paul Daley in his debut. He was awarded a title shot against then-champion Douglas Lima, who he defeated in a war of attrition.
MacDonald last competed in September 2018 where he moved up to middleweight in an attempt to become a two-weight world champion. Although he was defeated by Gegard Mousasi, MacDonald still retains his welterweight crown. The rules of the Grand Prix state that every time the champion competes, the belt is on the line. This adds more fuel to the fire for Jon Fitch.
Jon Fitch (31-7-1) is the definition of a veteran. He has competed all across the world, for organizations like the UFC, WSOF and now Bellator. A major world title has always seemed to elude him, as Fitch attempted to claim UFC gold back at UFC 87 against Georges St-Pierre but was soundly defeated. At the age of 41, he is not getting any younger, and if there was a time to win a major world championship, it’s now. He holds notable wins over Diego Sanchez, Thiago Alves (twice) and Jake Shields.
The winner of this championship match will face Neiman Gracie in the next round of the Welterweight Grand Prix.
Ilima-Lei MacFarlane vs. Veta Arteaga
Ilima-Lei MacFarlane is the face of women’s mixed martial arts in Bellator. The Hawaiian is the company’s flyweight champion and boasts an impressive undefeated professional record of 9-0. She has finished seven of her wins, five of those by submission. In December, Bellator traveled to Hawaii for the very first time with MacFarlane as the headliner.
MacFarlane successfully defended her flyweight crown on home soil, further solidifying her as one of the world’s best 125-pound fighters. The newest challenge to her throne may well be her kryptonite.
Veta Arteaga (5-2) is not as popular as her adversary, but don’t let that fool you. She has great submission defense rounded off with decent striking, but most importantly she knows how to battle adversity. In 2017 she faced Brooke Mayo and by the third round, she was behind on the scorecards. Arteaga needed a finish, and that’s exactly what happened: she remained calm and composed, tagging her opponent with every strike. Her punches caused mass swelling around the eye of Mayo, prompting the doctor to step in. Veta Arteaga walked away with the third-round TKO.
This fight gives Arteaga the opportunity to win a world title. Meanwhile, MacFarlane will be looking to cement her legacy even further.
Benson Henderson vs. Adam Piccolotti
Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (26-8) makes his seventh appearance for Bellator when he takes on submission wizard Adam Piccolotti (11-2).
Henderson is no stranger to the spotlight. The 35-year-old is a former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, and in recent years contested for the Bellator welterweight and lightweight title respectively. “Smooth” narrowly lost both back-and-forth bouts but undoubtedly has another title run in him.
For Adam Piccolotti, he will be looking at this fight as his coming out party. What better way to make a name for yourself than taking out a former champion? “The Bomb” holds five submission wins in MMA and defeated UFC veteran Danny Castillo in a grappling match last December.
Benson Henderson is a two-time NAIA All-American wrestler and possesses slick submissions of his own – look no further than his guillotine win over Roger Huerta. The clear advantage for “Smooth” is on the feet. If he can utilize his kickboxing and taekwondo skills as efficiently as usual, he should walk away with the victory.
Due to the magnitude of the main and co-main event, Henderson vs. Piccolotti is being overlooked by many, but it does have the potential to be the best fight of the night.
Steven is a Mixed Martial Arts journalist and analyst from the United Kingdom.