Chael Sonnen versus Lyoto Machida is said to be in the works for Bellator this summer. Sonnen made it to the semifinals of the heavyweight tournament where he lost to Fedor Emelianenko last October. Machida made his Bellator MMA debut at Bellator 213 in Hawaii when he won a split decision victory over former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho. The two UFC vets are said to have verbally agreed to the bout according to ESPN.
The current announced Bellator schedule goes only as far as Bellator 221 with the Chandler vs. Pitbull card in Illinois on May 22. After that, there are currently no announced events however Bellator President Scott Coker has said he has been trying to get the promotion back in Madison Square Garden as soon as this summer. At the Bellator 216 media scrum, when asked about returning to New York City the promotion had already met with the venue earlier that week.
“We got some great fights to bring,” said Coker and he added, “If we come to New York, we gotta come big.” Coker did not want to get into the details then, but he said the names in consideration were “sizeable”. He also said the plan was to have Ryan Bader face Cheick Kongo at some point in the summertime for the heavyweight title since Kongo’s win at Bellator 216 made him the number one contender.
With names like Sonnen and Machida along with Kongo and Bader’s title fight that does have the beginnings of a sizeable card to bring to the world’s most famous arena. There is also a middleweight champion in Gegard Mousasi that might be healthy enough to defend his title by the summer as well.
While the report from ESPN said no location or date has been set, if Bellator can line up a date as Coker said during the Bellator 216 media scrum, they certainly have the potential to bring the right card to Madison Square Garden.
Do you think this fight is the one to bring Bellator back to Madison Square Garden?