Bellator MMA to Hold 16-Man Featherweight Grand Prix Tournament in October (1 Viewer)


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Bellator MMA to Hold 16-Man Featherweight Grand Prix Tournament in October
During an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday, Bellator President Scott Coker revealed that the California-based promotion will hold a 16-man featherweight tournament beginning in October. Coker said that he is interested in doing the entire opening round in one night or during back-to-back shows on the same weekend.
Bellator chief Scott Coker says featherweight grand prix coming in October
Coker said he’s interested in doing the entire first round in one night or on back-to-back Friday-Saturday shows like this past weekend with Bellator 215 and 216 both taking place at the same venue.
Coker has said he’d like to roll out one new grand prix a year for the foreseeable future.


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James Gallagher open to Bellator featherweight tournament for ‘the right deal’
Although James Gallagher has every intention of staying at bantamweight for the foreseeable future, he admitted that “the right deal” could see him compete in a Bellator featherweight tournament.

“The Strabanimal” makes his second walk as a bantamweight this weekend when he clashes with Steven Graham in the main event of Bellator 217.

At last week’s Bellator 215 and Bellator 216 media day, Bellator president Scott Coker told MMA Fighting’s Danny Segura that the next tournament the promotion hosts could be based around the 145-pound bracket. Coker specifically named champion Patricio Freire, A.J. McKee, Aaron Pico, bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell and Gallagher when considering the potential bracket.

With a million dollars on the line for the winner of the promotion’s welterweight tournament that is currently taking place, the SBG fighter admitted that he could be convinced to go back up to the heavier category.

“Does a million quid make sense?” replied Gallagher when asked if the featherweight tournament would make sense to him on the latest episode of Eurobash. “If it makes money it makes sense…if it makes money it makes sense and we will see if I’m going to be making money. [If I am] then it’s going to make sense to me.”

Gallagher underlined that it would have to be a lucrative offer for him to consider moving back up to the weight class.

“I can fight in that weight class, but I’m happy where I am. I’m not in any rush to move back up and I’m not in any rush to do anything different, but if I get the right deal and it’s right for me, then I’m going to do what’s right for me.”

“You don’t get a pizza with no pizza on top, do you?” he asked in jest. “If they’re willing to sprinkle some cheese on my pizza, well then I’m going to f*ckin’ eat it!”


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Bellator officially announces 16-man featherweight grand prix, launching in October

Featherweight has long been one of Bellator’s most stacked divisions. And now it will get the annual tournament treatment.

Bellator president Scott Coker announced officially Tuesday at a London press conference that the promotion will launch a featherweight grand prix in October. The tournament will feature 16 of the best 145-pound fighters in Bellator, the biggest tourney to date in promotion history.

Bellator London Press Conference

Bellator London Press Conference
Posted by Bellator MMA on Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Coker had previously teased the news, but made it official Tuesday at a press conference to announce the slate for Bellator 222 in London on June 22. Coker said the featherweight tournament will begin sometime in October with the full first round — eight fights — on a single card. It will air on DAZN. The plan, he said, is to finish up the grand prix within a calendar year.

The tournament winner will receive $1 million, Coker said. It’s unclear if the Bellator featherweight champion, currently Patricio Freire, will be in the draw. Freire is moving up to lightweight to fight champion Michael Chandler in the main event of Bellator 221 on May 11 in Rosemont, Ill.

Bellator was once a promotion entirely based on tournaments with the winners in each weight class getting title shots. When Coker took over as promoter from founder Bjorn Rebney in 2014, Bellator moved away from the full tournament structure. But in 2018, tournaments once again became part of the format, beginning with the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix, which was won by Ryan Bader — who also became heavyweight champion — in January.

Currently, Bellator is running a welterweight grand prix with champion Rory MacDonald defending his title throughout the bracket. MacDonald will face Jon Fitch in a first-round matchup at Bellator 220 on April 27 in San Jose, Calif. Douglas Lima, Michael Page and Neiman Gracie are already in the tourney semifinals.


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Ryan Bader vs. Cheick Kongo, featherweight grand prix kickoff set for Bellator 226

It’s settled: Two-division Bellator champion Ryan Bader is defending his heavyweight title next.

On Thursday, the promotion announced that Bader will return Sept. 7 when he puts his belt on the line against French striker Cheick Kongo in the night’s main event at Bellator 226.

Bader (27-5 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) captured the heavyweight strap after winning the Bellator heavyweight grand prix with a 35-second knockout of Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko in the tournament final last January. That victory also saw him become a two-division champion, with the heavyweight title joining the light heavyweight strap he won from Phil Davis in his promotional debut back in June 2017.

He’ll face fellow former UFC veteran Kongo (30-10 MMA, 12-2 BMMA), who earned his shot at gold on the heels of an eight-fight winning streak that stretches all the way back to June 2015.

Bellator 226, set for the SAP Center in San Jose, also will mark the start of the promotion’s eagerly anticipated 16-man featherweight grand prix. Although Bellator officials initially announced earlier this year that the eight opening-round bouts would all take place on the same card, a promotion official told MMA Junkie that will no longer be the case.

Bellator officials have subsequently confirmed to MMA Junkie that the opening round of the tournament will now be split between Bellator 226 and Bellator 227 on Sept. 28 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

The only confirmed matchup at this time will see reigning two-division Bellator champ Patricio Freire put his 145-pound title on the line against rising contender Juan Archuleta, which is set for Sept. 28.


Bader hasn't defended the LHW title in 2 years. Crazy
I think Machida will get that shot after this hw fight. Maybe Moose will move back up as well. There are a couple fights for him, Tito even if he wants it.


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I think Machida will get that shot after this hw fight. Maybe Moose will move back up as well. There are a couple fights for him, Tito even if he wants it.
Not sure how the Tito fight would work being under contract with another org. It hasn't stopped Bellator in the past though.


Not sure how the Tito fight would work being under contract with another org. It hasn't stopped Bellator in the past though.
Nor am I particularly interested in that fight but tito has the win over him and lord knows bellator's lhw division is in worse shape than the UFC


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Bellator announces 16-man field for featherweight grand prix
Bellator has announced its star-studded 16-man roster for its upcoming World Featherweight Grand Prix.

Shortly after Bellator president Scott Coker named the participants on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, the promotion made the field official on Monday. The first-round bouts will take place across two cards in September and the matchups are as follows:

Bellator 226 — Sept. 7 — San Jose, Calif.

Sam Sicilia (16-9) vs. Pedro Carvalho (10-3)

Daniel Straus (26-8) vs. Derek Campos (19-9)

Pat Curran (23-8) vs. Adam Borics (13-0)

Emmanuel Sanchez (18-4) vs. Tywan Claxton (5-0)

Bellator 228 — Sept. 28 — Inglewood, Calif.

Patricio Freire (29-4) vs. Juan Archuleta (23-1)

A.J. McKee (14-0) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (28-9-1, 1 NC)

Darrion Caldwell (12-3) vs. Henry Corrales (17-3)

Daniel Weichel (39-11) vs. Saul Rogers (13-2)

Freire is currently Bellator’s reigning featherweight champion, so his opening-round bout with Archuleta will be a five-round affair. All the other opening-round bouts will be three rounds.

From the second round and on, all the fights will be scheduled for five rounds. The title will be on the line in every fight involving the champion, whoever that may be as the tournament progresses.

Matchups after the opening round of the tournament will be determined by random draw.

The field contains former featherweight champions Daniel Straus and Pat Curran, as well as former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell.

The tournament champion will not only walk away with the Bellator featherweight title, they will also win a $1 million prize.

Bellator 226 and Bellator 228 will air live on the DAZN streaming service.


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[DOUBLEPOST=1563461505,1563461135][/DOUBLEPOST]Scott Coker explains why Aaron Pico was excluded from Bellator featherweight grand prix

Earlier this week, the Bellator featherweight grand prix field was finally revealed. One big-name omission was Aaron Pico.

After he devastated four straight foes, Pico (4-3 MMA, 4-3 BMMA) lost two straight fights via brutal knockout. The 22-year-old Californian was hit with a brutal, fight-ending flying knee from Adam Borics, which came on the heels of a January knockout loss to Henry Corrales.

At a media day Wednesday in Burbank, Calif., Bellator president Scott Coker emphasized that he still believes in Pico but acknowledged it’s time for him take a step back.

“With Aaron, we’re going to meet with his manager either this weekend or next week, Coker said. “I always felt like after his last fight in New York, let’s take a beat back. He’s a great kid. We have a lot of respect for him.”

Despite the manner in which Pico’s last two fights went, Coker said he still thinks Pico has a bright future. The turnaround would have been much too soon for Pico, in the eyes of the Bellator president.

“We think he’s going to still come back and be great, but I think it’s time to take a beat,” Coker said. “Let him train and let him get through this process. He would be fighting as early as Sept. 7 in eight weeks coming off that fight in New York. I think he’ll be back, it’s just a matter of time.”

The Bellator featherweight grand prix kicks off Sept. 7 at Bellator 226 with four 145-pound tournament matchups. Sam Sicilia vs. Pedro Carvalho, Daniel Straus vs. Derek Campos, Pat Curran vs. Adam Borics, and Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Tywan Claxton are all scheduled for the event in San Jose.

Four more featherweight tournament matchups are also slated for Bellator 228 on Sept. 28 in Inglewood, headlined by a title fight between champion Patricio Freire and Juan Archuleta. Also, A.J. McKee will take on Georgi Karakhanyan, and Darrion Caldwell will face off against Henry Corrales. Also on the card, Daniel Weichel battles Saul Rogers.

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