Bellator MMA is set to return to Hawaii next month and will be bringing some blockbuster matchups with it to the islands.
The promotion hasn’t headed to the off-the-mainland state since it held Bellator 235 and 236 on consecutive nights in 2019. Now, with a pandemic that shut down travel, sport, and large gatherings across the world beginning to die down, the mixed martial arts spotlight is set to return to Hawaii.
As first reported by KHON2, Bellator will once again be putting on two events on back-to-back dates. As well as hosting Bellator 278 on April 22, the Neal S. Blaisdell Center will see Bellator 279 go down the very next night.
While there’s yet to be any fights added to the opening night, Bellator 279 is already shaping up to be a must-watch card. With multiple title fights set to go down, two of Bellator’s top champions will return to action.
Cris Cyborg (25-2), a former Strikeforce, Invicta FC, and UFC featherweight titleholder, is set to make the fourth defense of her 145-pound Bellator gold. Her latest victory saw her overcome Sinead Kavanagh at UFC 271.
Challenging her in Honolulu will be familiar foe Arlene Blencowe (15-8). Since falling short of dethroning Cyborg in 2020, the Australian 38-year-old has won back-to-back contests against Dayana Silva and Pam Sorensen, earning herself a second crack at the belt.
Elsewhere, as part of the $1 million Bantamweight Grand Prix, Sergio Pettis (22-5) will put his 135-pound title on the line against Raufeon Stots (17-1). Since leaving the UFC for Bellator in 2019, “The Phenom” has built a four-fight win streak that includes a championship crowning versus Juan Archuleta and a successful defense and knockout of the year contender against the great Kyoji Horiguchi.
Like Pettis, Stots has remained unbeaten on the Bellator stage. In five appearances, “Supa” has extended his MMA win streak to nine and defeated the likes of Magomed Magomedov and Josh Hill. In 18 career fights, Stots’ one defeat came at the hands of top-10 UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili.
In another notable bout, Horiguchi (29-4) will make his third appearance in the Bellator cage against Patchy Mix (15-1). That clash will mark another first-round Grand Prix context. Elsewhere, Hawaii’s Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-1) will square off against Justine Kish (7-5).
The currently announced Bellator 279 card (main card set for 9:30 p.m. ET) is as follows:
Sergio Pettis vs. Raufeon Stots – Bantamweight title bout
Cris Cyborg vs. Arlene Blencowe – Featherweight title bout
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Patchy Mix – Bantamweight bout
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Justine Kish – Flyweight bout
Fights for Bellator 278 (main card set for 9 p.m. ET) are yet to be announced.
Are you excited for Bellator’s return to Hawaii next month?