Bellator‘s bantamweight grand prix has suffered a major blow as champion, Sergio Pettis suffered an injury and is now out of the tournament.
On Tuesday morning it was revealed by CBS Sports that Pettis was forced to withdraw from the field due to injury. He was supposed to fight Raufeon Stots in the opening round at Bellator 279 on April 23 in Hawaii. With Pettis out of the fight, Juan Archuleta will now face Stots on the card for the interim bantamweight title, which will be on the line throughout the grand prix.
Pettis’ injury was not disclosed but it is a massive blow for the grand prix as the eight fighters will now be fighting for the interim title. The champ is coming off a stunning KO win over Kyoji Horiguchi to defend his bantamweight title for the first time. He won the belt by decision after defeating Archuleta in May.
Along with Pettis being out of the Bellator bantamweight grand prix, it’s likely that Josh Hill will now enter the tournament. He was named the alternate after a vicious KO win over Jared Scoggins in December.
Raufeon Stots, meanwhile, is 17-1 and coming off a decision win over Magomed Magomedov in August. He’s currently 5-0 in Bellator with notable wins over Josh Hill, Keith Lee, and Cass Bell. His lone loss was a spinning backfist KO to Merab Dvalishvili.
Juan Archuleta, on the other hand, has not fought since his loss to Pettis to lose his bantamweight title. He won the vacant belt with a decision win over Patchy Mix in September 2020 after dropping back down to bantamweight.
With Stots now fighting Archuleta, Bellator 279 is as follows:
- Raufeon Stots vs. Juan Archuleta – interim bantamweight title
- Cris Cyborg vs. Arlene Blencowe- featherweight title
- Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Patchy Mix – bantamweight grand prix
- Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Justin Kish
- Yancy Medeiros vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
- Kai Kamaka III vs. Justin Gonzalez