There has already been changes to the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Bellator is doing a great job building and promoting their Grand Prix. Sure, there hasn’t been one, besides maybe the Heavyweight Grand Prix, that has gone off without a hitch, but even then I’m sure Bellator was hoping that Fedor Emelianenko would walk away the champion. Instead, Ryan Bader did. We’ve gone through a few but none have had such a chaotic start to it as the upcoming Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Sure, the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix saw Yoel Romero and Anthony Johnson both pullout, but they were in different rounds. That Grand Prix also saw a draw come in the finals, setting up a rematch. There was another draw, this one in the Welterweight Grand Prix, that saw then-welterweight champion Rory MacDonald draw with Jon Fitch.
Yet, that even still, doesn’t rise to the level of chaos we’re seeing to start the Bantamweight Grand Prix. The original eight fighters announced for the tournament included then bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis, James Gallagher, Magomed Magomedov, Juan Archuletta, Raufeon Stots, Leandro Higo, Patchy Mix, and Kyoji Horiguchi.
Yet, we’re heading into the start of the Grand Prix at Bellator 278 without Gallagher and champion Pettis. Considering its tradition for the champion to defend his title in each of his Grand Prix fights, that really threw a wrench into the proceedings.
Major changes were made to the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix
The Grand Prix was then set to see Jornel Lugo taking Danny Sabatello and Josh Hill taking on Enrique Barzolan. The winner of Lugo and Sabatello would take on Higo and the winner of Hill and Barzolan would take on Magomedov.
Great, except, not.
Hill, following the lead of Gallagher and Pettis, also had to pull out. So now the fourth alternate needs an alternate. That brings in Nikita Mikhailov, who will take on Barzolan, and that winner will get Magomedov.
So now we have to qualifiers to get into the tournament. So here’s the final breakdown of the tournament’s first two rounds as we head into Bellators’ 278 and 279;
Qualifier Round – Bellator 278:
Enrique Barzola vs. Nikita Mikhailov
Danny Sabatello vs. Jornel Lugo
First Round – Bellator 279:
Juan Archuleta vs. Raufeon Stots
Patchy Mix vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
First Round – Bellator 282:
Winner of Barzola/Mikhailov vs. Magmoed Magomedov
Winner of Sabatello/Lugo vs. Leandro Higo
Bellator 279: Cris Cyborg vs. Arlene Blencowe 2 takes place on Friday, April 23, 2022, live from the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, HI. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your news and highlights.