Bellator announced Tuesday that U.S. TV network Showtime will become the exclusive home for their live events. Along with the news of their new network, Bellator unveiled that their first events for the channel will be on April 2nd, 9th, 16th and May 7th.
The move for Bellator comes after a few months on the CBS Sports Network. During their time at the network, Bellator frequently aired on Thursday evenings. The upcoming move will see the promotion return to Friday nights.
“Bellator has matured and elevated itself to a point where it now belongs on a premium television network,” said Stephen Espinosa of Showtime during a press conference on Tuesday.
Bellator announced the big fights for their four upcoming shows.
Bellator Announces Pitbull vs. Sanchez For April 2nd
Bellator revealed the second semi-final fight in their featherweight grand prix will take place at their April 2nd event. Bellator Featherweight Champion Patricio Pitbull will fight Emmanuel Sanchez in the semi-finals.
Both Pitbull and Sanchez earned their semi-final spots in November, defeating their respective opponents.
Sanchez picked up a five-round unanimous decision win in his fight, defeating veteran Daniel Weichel.
Pitbull had a quick win in his quarter-finals, stopping Pedro Carvalho in the first round with punches.
The winner will face AJ McKee, who stopped Darrion Caldwell in November to earn his spot in the grand finals.
The first meeting between Sanchez and Pitbull was in 2018, where Pitbull won a unanimous decision to defend his belt.
Bellator Reveals Eight-Man Light Heavyweight Grand Prix
Bellator unveiled the cast for their new light heavyweight tournament on Tuesday. The first round of the tournament will air during Bellator’s April 9th and 16th events.
Former light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader will begin his quest to get back a belt in the tournament. He fights fellow veteran Loyoto Machida in the round of eight.
Bader lost his belt in August, getting stopped in the second round by Vadim Nemkov.
Machida will be returning after facing a split decision loss in his past two fights.
Former UFC fighter Corey Anderson will welcome promotional newcomer Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov in the other fight scheduled for Bellator’s April 9th event.
Anderson won his Bellator debut in November, stopping Melvin Manhoef in the second round of a fight with strikes.
Yagshimuradov enters the promotion after a strong eight-fight win streak.
Current light heavyweight champ Vadim Nemkov will compete at Bellator’s April 16th event, fighting Phil Davis in the opening round of the tournament.
Davis joins the tournament after attaining a three-fight win streak from the past two years.
Former interim UFC Middleweight Champion Yoel Romero will make his Bellator debut in the tournament against a fellow former UFC fighter in Anthony Johnson.
Romero abruptly exited the UFC in 2020 after losing a middleweight title shot to Israel Adesanya. The 13-fight UFC veteran will move up to light heavyweight under the Bellator banner.
Johnson will be coming out of retirement in his Bellator debut. His last fight dates back to 2017, where he lost a UFC Light Heavyweight Championship shot against Daniel Cormier.
Archuleta To Face Pettis In First Title Defence
Juan Archuleta will attempt to defend his Bellator Bantamweight Championship for the first time on May 7th, facing former UFC fighter Sergio Pettis.
Archuleta claimed Bellator’s vacant bantamweight belt in September, going five rounds to win a unanimous decision and hand Patchy Mix his first loss as a pro.
Pettis has been given the title shot after picking up two wins in Bellator. Pettis last competed in July, where he defeated Ricky Bandejas via unanimous decision.
All Announced Bouts
Bellator 255 – April 2nd
Bout 1: Patricio Pitbull (31-4) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4) (Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix Semi-Final)
Bellator 256 – April 9th
Bout 2: Ryan Bader (27-6) vs. Lyoto Machida (26-10) (Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
Bout 1: Corey Anderson (14-5) vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-5-1) (Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
Bellator 257 – April 16th
Bout 2: Vadim Nemkov (13-2) vs. Phil Davis (22-5) (Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
Bout 1: Anthony Johnson (22-6) vs. Yoel Romero (13-5) (Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final)
Bellator 258 – May 7th
Bout 1: Juan Archuleta (25-2) vs. Sergio Pettis (20-5) (Bellator Bantamweight Championship)