Bellator returns to Hawaii in April with a loaded card featuring the first two bouts in their highly anticipated Bantamweight Grand Prix.
First announced by KHON2, Bellator will return to the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu for back-to-back events featuring a women’s featherweight title fight and the opening round of Bellator’s Bantamweight Grand Prix tourrnament.
Two Big Bantamweight Grand Prix Bouts Announced
Sergio Pettis (25-5, 4-0 Bellator) has yet to experience defeat in the Bellator cage. Since making his promotional debut in 2020, Pettis defeated Alfred Khashakyan and Ricky Bandejas on his way to capturing Bellator gold when he defeated Juan Archuleta at Bellator 258. Most recently, Pettis successfully defended his title against RIZIN champion Kyoji Horiguchi at Bellator 272. Pettis spectacularly knocked out Horiguchi with a spinning back-fist in the fourth round.
Raufeon Stots (17-1, 5-0 Bellator) looks to capitalize on his first title opportunity since joining the promotion in 2019. Under the Bellator banner, Stots has won five straight. His most recent victory came against his toughest test in Magomed Magomedov. Stots earned a unanimous decision victory which undoubtedly helped earn him a spot in the Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Kyoji Horiguchi (29-4-0, 1-1-0 Bellator) came up short of recapturing the Bellator bantamweight title when he met Sergio Pettis at Bellator 272. Despite only holding a record of 1-1 in the promotion, Horiguchi is a fantastic addition to the tournament with stellar records in every other promotion he has competed in.
Debuting for the UFC in 2013, Horiguchi went 7-1 with his lone loss coming against Demetrious Johnson at UFC 186. After fighting out his contract, Horiguchi returned to Japan and the RIZIN promotion where he went 11-1 between 2017 and 2020. During that span, he defeated Darion Caldwell for the Bellator bantamweight championship, but was forced to relinquish it due to an ACL injury in 2019.
Patchy Mix (15-1-0, 4-1–0 Bellator) will be looking for another opportunity to win bantamweight gold in addition to the $1 million grand prize in 2022. Mix came up short when he lost to Juan Archuleta at Bellator 246. The two fought for the title after it was vacated by an injured Kyoji Horiguchi. Archuleta won the fight via unanimous decision, but Mix bounced back earning two straight submission victories against Albert Morales and James Gallagher to earn a spot in the Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Cyborg and Blencowe Run It Back
Bellator also confirmed that the women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg will defend her title against Arlene Blencowe in a rematch of their Bellator 249 bout where Cyborg won via submission, the first and only submission victory in her nearly 17 year career.
Cris Cyborg (25-2-0, 4-0 Bellator) debuted with the promotion in October 2020 after a 7-1 run in the UFC, her only loss coming against Amanda Nunes. Since joining Bellator, Cyborg has four straight victories, all four coming by way of knockout or submission. Her most recent victory was against Sinead Kavanagh at Bellator 271. It took Cyborg 92 seconds to KO ‘KO’.
Arlene Blencowe (15-8-0, 8-4 Bellator) gets her second opportunity at Bellator gold. After three straight victories, Blencowe earned her shot, but came up short against Cyborg, losing via second round submission at Bellator 249. Since then, Blencowe has rattled off two straight victories against Dayana Silva and Pam Sorenson.
Bellator 278 and Bellator 279 will take place on back-to-back nights on April 22 and April 23. No announcements have been made regarding Bellator 278 other than the date and location. The only other bout currently scheduled for Bellator 279 is Hawaiian-born Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Justine Kish in a flyweight showdown.
Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images