Today on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Bellator president Scott Coker broke some news. A day after they announced they have re-signed AJ McKee, the promotion officially announced the eight participants of the Lightweight Grand Prix and announced the start date.
Per Coker, the Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix will kick off on Friday, March 10th. The following eight fighters will be participants in the Grand Prix:
- Usman Nurmagomedov (16-0)
- Patricky Pitbull (24-11)
- AJ McKee (20-1)
- Mansour Barnaoui (20-4)
- Tofiq Musayev (20-4)
- Benson Henderson (30-11)
- Sidney Outlaw (16-5)
- Alexander Shabliy (22-3)
Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix
This is a very solid tournament and as with all other Bellator Grand Prix, the winner will walk away lightweight champion and one million dollars richer. The champion Usman Nurmagomedov has to be pegged as the betting favorite despite having someone the likes of AJ McKee in the tournament.
While that is certainly a matchup to watch out for in the tournament, the field has a ton of solid contenders. Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson will finally try to capture Bellator gold after spending years with the promotion without claiming a title.
Patricky Pitbull will try to regain his lightweight crown after falling to Nurmagomedov to close 2022. Barnoui, Musayev, and Shabliy will all look to remain unbeaten in the Bellator cage and Sidney Outlaw is always a tough out. This is going to be an incredible tournament.