Sunday, November 27, 2022

Bellator Announces Lightweight Grand Prix Set To Start In 2023

The crowded Bellator lightweight title picture will soon receive more clarity next year following a recent announcement by Bellator President Scott Coker.

Bellator will host a Lightweight World Grand Prix in 2023 directly after the Bellator 288 title fight between Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire and Usman Nurmagomedov in November. The full lineup for the tournament is expected to be announced in the coming months.

Other potential contenders in the tournament include Tofiq Musayev, who earned a 27-second knockout over then-top contender Sidney Outlaw in July. Nurmagomedov defeated Chris Gonzalez on the same card via first-round submission.

Freire was to face Outlaw in his first lightweight title defense at Bellator 283 before suffering an injury. He earned the title by defeating Peter Queally for the vacant belt.

Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix Will Follow Patricky Pitbull Vs. Usman Nurmagomedov

Patricky Pitbull Freire Usman Nurmagomedov

During a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Coker broke the news of the World Lightweight Grand Prix.

“I think these kids are going to have their hands full,” Coker said. “I think it’s going to be an amazing tournament.”

Coker then admitted that former featherweight champion AJ McKee is in the mix for the upcoming tournament.

“We haven’t decided who the eight fighters are, but if AJ [McKee] likes fighting at 155, he’ll get an invitation.”

McKee will make his lightweight debut against Spike Carlyle on October 1st. He most recently lost to Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire in their featherweight title rematch at Bellator 277.

Bellator is currently wrapping up a Bantamweight World Grand Prix with Danny Sabatello, Raufeon Stots, Patchy Mix, and Magomed Magomedov in the semifinals. The winner is expected to face bantamweight champion, Sergio Pettis, at the tournament’s conclusion.

What is your early prediction for the Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix?