Bellator MMA President Scott Coker has some big news concerning the Bellator Featherweight GP this Monday afternoon.
Speaking on today’s episode of ‘Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show,’ Coker unveiled the opening round match-ups for Bellator’s upcoming Featherweight Grand Prix. The title fight between champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Juan Archuleta was previously announced for Bellator 228 on September 28. The awaited Gegard Mousasi vs. Lyoto Machida rematch was tabbed for the main event of that card.
A heavyweight title bout between Ryan Bader and Cheick Kongo was also revealed for Bellator 226 on September 7. Coker confirmed the Featherweight Grand Prix would begin at that event. He unveiled the opening round match-ups that will take place on September 7 to Helwani today:
“It launches September 7. We’ve already announced the main event between Ryan Bader, he’ll defend his belt against Cheick Kongo. But it’s not going to be an eight-man tournament; it’s going to be a 16-man tournament.
“And the fights in San Jose on September 7 will be Daniel Straus vs. Derek Campos, Sam Sicilia vs. Pedro Carvalho, Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Tywan Claxton, and Pat Curran vs. Adam Borics.”
Bellator 228 GP Match-Ups
Coker then moved on to announce the opening round match-ups that would take place at September 28’s Bellator 228:
“So that’s going to be the first eight athletes to fight in the featherweight tournament, and then we go to L.A. We already announced the “Pitbull” vs. Juan Archuleta fight, and the remaining three fights in the featherweight tournament will be Daniel Weichel vs. Saul Rogers, AJ McKee vs. Georgi Karakhanyan, and Darrion Caldwell vs. Henry Corrales. The super fight will be Gegard Mousasi fighting Lyoto Machida.
“So, we’ve got some great fights coming up, we’re very excited.”
Indeed they do. Coker was asked by Helwani if the “Pitbull” vs. Archuleta fight was the only five-round affair because it was a title fight. Coker revealed it was – with a certain twist:
“Yes, that’s the only five-rounder. This is like the sweet 16, this is the elimination before they go the eight-man format. Once we get to the eight-man format, which will be after this round, it’ll go to five rounds for every fight.”
The Bellator exec even revealed that the fighters didn’t even know who they would fight until he made this announcement:
“And the one thing about these match-ups, these fighters, besides for the main event between “Pitbull” vs. Archuleta, they didn’t know who they were fighting until we announced it just now.”
Coker closed by also announcing that the second round of the tournament will have a random draw that will take place live. All in all, the tournament is shaking up to be a rousing affair with some truly great fighters facing one another.
Which Bellator Featherweight GP match-up are you looking forward to most?