Bellator has announced two major title fights that will headline the promotion’s return to Chicago this summer.
On June 16, the promotion will invade Wintrust Arena in Chicago with two can’t-miss title tilts, the first featuring the return of reigning Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis. ‘The Phenom’ has been out of action since his fourth-round knockout of Kyoji Horiguchi in December 2021. On June 16 he will return to defend his crown against current featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull.
Pitbull, a former Bellator lightweight champion, will attempt to make history by becoming the promotion’s first fighter to become a titleholder in three different weight classes.
Pettis was originally scheduled to take part in the Bantamweight World Grand Prix that began in 2022, but an injury forced him to withdraw from the $1 million tournament. Bellator 295 on April 22 will play host to the Grand Prix final when interim bantamweight champion Raufeon Stots squares off with Patchy Mix. The winner is expected to unify their title against the winner of Pettis vs. Pitbull later this year.
.@BellatorMMA returns to Chicago for #Bellator297 on Friday, June 16 at @WintrustArena.@VadimNemkov vs. @YoelRomeroMMA for the Light Heavyweight Championship@SergioPettis returns to defend his title against @PatricioPitbullhttps://t.co/01tZlBsbgg
— Bellator Public Relations (@BellatorPR) March 27, 2023
Bellator 297 Will Play Host to a 205-Pound Showdown Between No. 3 Ranked Yoel Romero and Reigning Champion Vadim Nemkov
Also scheduled for Bellator’s return to the Second City is a light heavyweight championship main event pitting current titleholder Vadim Nemkov against heavy-hitting Cuban Yoel Romero. The two were previously scheduled to scrap at Bellator 290, but the bout was postponed.
Romero is currently ranked No. 3 in the promotion’s 205-pound division following back-to-back third-round knockouts of Alex Polizzi and Melvin Manhoef. Making his mixed martial arts debut nearly a decade ago, ‘Soldier of God’ earned victories over some of the UFC’s top names, including Derek Brunson, Tim Kennedy, Lyoto Machida, Ronaldo Souza, Chris Weidman, and Luke Rockhold.
Nemkov goes into the bout riding a 10-fight win streak dating back to 2016 with eight of those victories coming under the Bellator banner. Nemkov captured the 205-pound crown with a third-round knockout of the promotion’s reigning heavyweight champion Ryan Bader at Bellator 244. Since then, Nemkov has successfully defended the title on three separate occasions, besting Phil Davis, Julius Anglickas, and Corey Anderson.