Bellator will kick off their Bantamweight Grand Prix soon.
It will all start at Bellator 279 at Honolulu, Hawaii. The first round of the $1M tournament will feature a title bout between bantamweight king Sergio Pettis and top contender Raufeon Stots on Apr. 23. Bellator Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg is also scheduled to return on the card, in a rematch against Arlene Blencowe.
The duo of matchups was first reported by MMA Junkie.
Sergio Pettis will look to defend his strap a second time against his friend and former teammate Raufeon Stots. Pettis last defeated Kyoji Horiguchi in an amazing comeback win. His spinning backlist KO of the RIZIN Champion would rank among the best finishes of 2021.
Pettis would depart from the UFC back in 2019. His record has looked perfect at 4-0 since he joined Bellator. Across the promotions, some of his notable wins are over Brandon Moreno, Juan Archuleta, and Kyoji Horiguchi. He looks to add Stots to that list, but he isn’t all that happy about facing a friend.
“Unfortunately they wanna push that teammate vs teammate narrative,” Pettis wrote in a post. “But Business is business, it’s strictly financial.”
Stots also shares the same sentiment.
“@bellatormma y’all some hoes for this lol.” Stots joked in a deleted post.
“If you know me you know I appreciate the opportunity to fight for a @bellatormma world title,” Stots would later explain in a new post. “It will be my first time challenging for a major belt. So THANK YOU for the opportunity Bellator and staff.
“Yes we are brothers from the same camp but we are also the 2 very best in the world and we knew this day would come. I couldn’t be happier with where I am in the sport today and how big this opportunity is for my family. Some people don’t understand why I’m fighting Sergio in the first fight of the tournament but the belt is alive and active throughout the entire tournament which means if I didn’t fight him first then somebody else jumped the line ahead of me for the title shot which ain’t cool either lol. I love Sergio but as we both said it is business and this day has come.”
Like Stots said, he knew this day would come. Whether it be the first round of the tournament, or the $1M grand finale. It’s nothing personal between the friends, it’s just business.
‘Supa’ is coming off an insane 9-fight win streak. He hasn’t lost since 2017. Stots would earn a title shot with his spectacular performance against Magomed Magomedov last August. While teammates fighting each other isn’t ideal, Stots is likely the most deserving when it comes to a title fight and Bellator wanted to honor that right away.
Pettis and Stots squaring off on the sands of Honolulu isn’t the only thing that’s happening at Bellator 279. Cris Cyborg is rebooting for another rematch with Arlene Blencowe.
The two first fought in 2020, where Cyborg tapped out Blencowe by rear-naked choke. This would be Cyborg’s first career win by submission. Since then, the featherweight champ has continued her tear through the division. She has TKO’ed Leslie Smith and Sinead Kavanagh in her last two outings.
It would only take two wins for Blencowe to get back into the title picture. She’d rebound from her loss to Cyborg with victories over Dayana Silva and Pam Sorenson. ‘Angerfist’ will look for redemption as she takes on the seemingly unbeatable Cyborg at Bellator 279.