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There’s a pretty decent chance that Neiman Gracie will be in attendance for the Bellator welterweight grand prix bout between Rory MacDonald and Jon Fitch in San Jose, Calif., on April 27.
After all, he has a vested interest in the fight. Gracie will face the winner of MacDonald-Fitch at Bellator 222 in New York, with welterweight gold on the line. However, he doesn’t have a preference in opponent.
“I would like to fight whoever wins now, and I would also like to fight whoever loses because they are two big names,” Gracie said of the April 27 matchup. “That’s the two guys I’m looking to fight.
Gracie was on the card when Bellator made its New York debut in June 2017, earning a second-round submission triumph over Dave Marfone. At the time, Gracie was recognized for his decorated family name, but was otherwise only truly known by hardcore fans of the sport. Chael Sonnen, who will have headlined both of Bellator’s Madison Square Garden cards, praised Gracie’s progress over the past two years during a press conference on Tuesday.
One thing Gracie has never been shy about is the fact that he loves fighting close to home. Renzo’s Gracie, who is Neiman’s uncle, teaches at an academy that is a stone’s throw away from Madison Square Garden. With that in mind, its easy to understand why Gracie refers to the venue as his “house.”
“It feels great, man. It’s gonna be amazing. I can’t wait to fight here, fight for the belt,” Gracie said of fighting in New York. “I can’t wait to represent my family once again.”
If Gracie can get past his upcoming bout, he will eventually meet the winner of the Douglas Lima-Michael Page clash in the welterweight grand prix finals. Gracie is looking forward to the challenge no matter who he might face.
“That’s a really tough fight, two great strikers. It’s gonna be a tough fight,” he said. “I think Douglas is the favorite, but MVP can always surprise. I can’t wait to fight either one of them.”