Bellator bantamweight grand prix kicks off in April with Pettis – Stots & Horiguchi – Mix

The highly anticipated 2022 Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix finally has it’s start date. It was announced yesterday that the Grand Prix will kick off in April and it’s starting with a bang with two massive fights.

At Bellator 279 which takes place on Saturday, April 23rd. The promotion is starting fast and furious with one fight on the card being Kyoji Horiguichi (29-4) – Patchy Mix (15-1).

Back at Bellator 272 in December, Horiguchi looked like he was well on his way to becoming bantamweight champion. He was completely dominating Sergio Pettis and it looked like he was going to recapture the Bellator title.

However, out of no where in the fourth round, Horiguchi was caught flush with a spinning back fist. That back fist knocked him out cold. The former champion is now 1-2 in his last three fights after only losing one fight between 2012 to 2019.

Standing in his way at Bellator 279 will be Patchy Mix. Mix had a title shot back in 2020 and like Horiguchi, it looked like he was on his way to becoming champion. However, he ultimately gassed out and lost to Juan Archuleta.

Since then, he’s bounced back strong with two straight wins. Most impressively was his win over James Gallagher at Bellator 270 where he submitted him. This matchup should be an absolute banger.

Bellator title on the line

Of course the headliner of the Bellator 279 event will be the bantamweight title fight between Sergio Pettis (22-5) and Raufeon Stots (17-1). Now, this fight has a very unique backstory that will unfold between now and the event.

Pettis and Stots are close friends and they both train together. With this event taking place, they are having to separate. All eyes will be on this fight between two men who know each other very well.

Pettis is a perfect 4-0 since joining Bellator after his stint with the UFC. He captured the title against Juan Archuleta and then defended it against Kyoji Horiguchi. Now, he’s going to be facing a teammate who has been surging.

Stots is a perfect 5-0 since joining Bellator. The only man to have defeated him in his professional career is top UFC contender Merab Dvalishvili. Now, he’s going to get the chance to finally prove that he’s the best bantamweight in the promotion.

Bellator 272 Preview: Sergio Pettis – Kyoji Horiguchi

Tomorrow night in the main event of Bellator 272, we will see a battle for the bantamweight title. The champion Sergio Pettis (21-5) takes on the former champion Kyoji Horiguchi (29-3). Horiguchi will be looking to regain the title that he never lost inside the cage.

Back in 2019 at Bellator 222, Horiguchi captured the bantamweight title when he defeated Darrion Caldwell by decision. That win made him a two-promotion champion between Bellator and RIZIN. However, Horiguchi never ended up defending his Bellator title.

Horiguchi went back to RIZIN and lost to Kai Asakura. He ended up relinquishing the Bellator title and secured a rematch with Asakura where he was able to avenge the loss back in December of last year. Horiguchi won by knockout.

The loss that he suffered was his first loss since 2015 when he lost to Demetrious Johnson for the UFC flyweight title. There are a lot of people betting on Horiguchi tomorrow, but he’s going to have his hands full with Sergio Pettis.

Sergio Pettis has gotten off to a blistering start since jumping from the UFC. After a solid run in the UFC which included wins over Joseph Benavidez and Brandon Moreno, Pettis made the jump to Bellator in 2020.

So far, he’s gone a perfect 3-0 with the promotion which includes capturing the bantamweight title. In May he took the title away from Juan Archuleta when he was able to outpoint him over the course of five rounds.

Bellator 272 Prediction

This is such a fantastic matchup and I really can’t wait for this Bellator title fight. I’m expecting this fight to take place on the feet and it will be really interesting to see who is able to utilize their gameplan the best.

For Pettis, the key is going to be keeping the fight tactical from range. I really like the development I’ve seen in his striking and if he can make it a point fight, he’s going to be in good shape. I also like his ability to take things to the ground and use his ground game if need be.

That said, the former Bellator champion has a lot of pop in his hands and that power could prove to be a big advantage. Horiguchi can end this fight with his power and I think his power has the ability to throw Pettis off and make things difficult for the current champion.

I’m expecting both men to find success in this one. I think Horiguchi is going to rock Pettis in the early rounds, however, I think Pettis will come on strong in the later rounds. This fight is going to the cards and I think the judges might event be split. In the end, I see Sergio Pettis keeping his title and remaining Bellator’s best.

Prediction: Sergio Pettis by Split Decision

Bellator books Sergio Pettis – Kyoji Horiguchi

Bellator has booked a massive title fight for their bantamweight division. The promotion took to the Morning Kombat show today to announce that they had finalized a bantamweight title fight between Sergio Pettis (21-5) and Kyoji Horiguchi (29-3) for December 3rd.

This matchup will pair the Bellator champion (Pettis) against the RIZIN champion (Horiguchi). Many will recall that Horiguchi was the Bellator bantamweight champion as well when he defeated Darrion Caldwell back in 2019.

At that time, Horiguchi was already the RIZIN champion and the win over Caldwell gave him two championships. The two promotions had agreed to do a co-promotion with Horiguchi holding both titles.

However, after Horiguchi got hurt, Bellator moved on with crowning a new bantamweight champion. Juan Archuleta became the champion before ultimately losing the Bellator title to Sergio Pettis earlier this year.

Horiguchi had lost the RIZIN championship in his last fight of 2019. He returned in December of 2020 and avenged that loss while winning back that title. Now, he’s going to try and win back the Bellator title that he never lost.

Bellator vs RIZIN

Sergio Pettis has really taken off after leaving the UFC. Pettis was always touted for his skill and potential but never reached the top of the mountain in the UFC. That said, he was still able to defeat some of the best inside the octagon.

After becoming a free agent, Bellator signed Pettis to an exclusive deal. Since joining the promotion, he’s gone 3-0. The highlight of that stretch came at Bellator 258 when he took on Juan Archuleta for the bantamweight championship.

The two had a good fight, but Pettis was getting the better of things throughout. Ultimately, Pettis scored a decision win to become bantamweight champion. Now, he’s going to have his chance to defeat Horiguchi who never lost his title with Bellator.

After losing his title at Bellator 258, what’s next for Juan Archuleta?

Juan Archuleta

This past Friday night at Bellator 258, Juan Archuleta (25-3) was attempting to defend his bantamweight title for the first time. Standing across the cage from him was Sergio Pettis (21-5) who was looking to stay undefeated in Bellator.

Since making his debut with the promotion back in 2018, Juan Archuleta had gone 7-1 in Bellator. His lone loss came to Patricio Pitbull when he moved up to featherweight to try and become a world champion.

However, his natural weight class was always 135. Late last year, he got his shot at the bantamweight title. Archuleta defeated Patchy Mix and became the undisputed bantamweight champion for Bellator.

However, he had a tall task in front of him for his first title defense. Sergio Pettis has really been coming into his own and he was ready to take the 135 pound title on Friday night.

When the fight started, Archuleta was trying to use his footwork and activity to frustrate Pettis. However, Pettis was having none of it and he was catching Archuleta clean coming in with counters. While Archuleta found some success, Pettis was just getting the better of him.

Ultimately, all three judges gave the fight and the Bellator bantamweight title to Sergio Pettis. Archuleta suffered just his third career loss and ultimately came up short in his first title defense.

What’s next after Bellator 258?

Unfortunately for Archuleta, he won’t be getting an immediate rematch. He didn’t have the type of reign leading up to Bellator 258 that would warrant an immediate rematch and the fight wasn’t close enough on the scorecards.

With that, he will have to fight a top contender next. Earlier today, I wrote a piece on what I thought would be next for Sergio Pettis. Bellator has some decisions to make in terms of his next title defense.

Right now, I think the two leading candidates for a title shot are Raufeon Stots (16-1) and Magomed Magomedov (18-1). One of those two men will likely get a crack at the Bellator bantamweight title next.

With that in mind, whoever doesn’t get the shot should fight Archuleta next. His stock doesn’t take a hit and he’s still going to be at the top of the division. So, whoever doesn’t get the title shot next, they should get a consolation prize in fighting the former champion.

After capturing bantamweight title at Bellator 258, what’s next for Sergio Pettis?

This past weekend at Bellator 258, Juan Archuleta (25-3) and Sergio Pettis (21-5) battled it out for the bantamweight title. Archuleta was looking to defend his title for the first time while Pettis was looking to become the second world champion in his family.

Throughout his MMA career, Sergio Pettis has lived in the shadow of his brother Anthony. The elder Pettis has been a UFC and WEC lightweight champion and with that, he’s garnered the majority of the attention.

That said, Sergio Pettis has been on a roll and he’s really taken off in Bellator. After a successful stint with the UFC, Pettis jumped ship to Bellator where he won his first two fights to earn him a shot at Archuleta on Friday night.

Heading into the fight, I figured the fight was going to be extremely close. I figured the grappling of Archuleta would really help him retain his Bellator title, but I knew Pettis had a real shot to take the belt.

In the end, all night long, Sergio Pettis was a step ahead of Juan Archuleta. Archuleta was more active, but Pettis was catching him with more clean shots. I personally thought the fight was closer than the scores suggested. However, after watching a second time, the right man won last weekend.

Sergio Pettis earned a clean sweep of the scorecards as he captured the Bellator bantamweight title. The judges had it 50-45, 49-46, 49-46 as the younger Pettis joined his brother as a world champion in the family.

What’s next after Bellator 258?

Bellator’s bantamweight division is one of their best divisions. There are a number of top contenders to watch. With that, here will be no shortage of options for Pettis’ first title defense.

One thing we know for sure, Juan Archuleta will not get an immediate rematch. Archuleta just became the champion and with the lopsided scores, we can pretty safely rule him out for Sergio’s first defense.

I think there are two Bellator bantamweights who are in the lead for the next shot. One being Raufeon Stots (16-1). Stots is an interesting one because him and Sergio are teammates. However, Pettis alluded to the fact that they might have to fight in the future.

Stots is 4-0 in Bellator and he’s knocking on the door of a title shot. The other contender is Magomed Magomedov (18-1). Magomedov is 2-0 since joining Bellator and his lone loss is to former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan.

Stots or Magomedov are the two leading candidates. Patchy Mix (14-1) and James Gallagher (11-1) are also options, but I think the promotion will try to pair those two for a fight against each other later this summer.

Sergio Pettis defeats Juan Archuleta at Bellator 258

Tonight in the main event of Bellator 258, the bantamweight title was on the line. Juan Archuleta (25-2) was defending his bantamweight title for the first time against Sergio Pettis (20-5).

Pettis was seeking to become the second world champion in his family. His older brother Anthony was of course the WEC and UFC lightweight champion. The younger Pettis also fought for the UFC before jumping to Bellator just prior to 2020.

Last year, Pettis made his debut with the promotion. He looked very good in both of his fights and won them both. In his career, he’s been in there with some of the best in the world including Henry Cejudo and Joseph Benavidez.

Tonight, he had a huge challenge in front of him at Bellator 258. Juan Archuleta has been close to perfect since he joined Bellator in early 2018. He’s gone 7-1 with his lone loss coming against Patricio Pitbull.

That fight was up at featherweight. Archuleta’s natural weight class is 135, but his first shot at Bellator gold was at 145 and he wouldn’t pass up that opportunity. After that defeat, he moved back down to 135 pounds.

Late last year, Archuleta fought Patchy Mix at Bellator 246. Mix was game, but Archuleta fought incredibly smart and walked away with a decision. Pettis is one of the stiffest challenges in the promotion, but Archuleta was looking to show how good he really is tonight.

Bellator 258 Recap

Round 1

The Bellator 258 main event kicks off with a touch of the gloves. Archuleta looks to establish his jab in the opening seconds. Pettis takes the center of the cage and Archuleta is using his movement on the outside.

Both men trade big shots and Archuleta goes back to circling the cage. Pettis just misses a high kick and Archuleta lands a quick takedown. However, Pettis, is able to pop right back up.

Archuleta pushes Pettis back to the fence as he looks to take him back down. Pettis lands a couple of nice elbows as Archuleta continues to look for the takedown. The two separate with two minutes left in the round.

Archuleta pushes forward, but Pettis gets the better of the exchange on the counter. The Bellator champion looks for a high kick, but nothing home. A beautiful right hand counter lands for Sergio Pettis.

Archuleta pushes forward and lands a body kick, but Pettis counters with a big straight shot. Nice jab lands for Sergio Pettis. Good low kicks land for Archuleta. Archuleta lands a takedown, but Pettis reverses straight into the mount as the bell sounds. 1-0 Sergio Pettis at Bellator 258.

Round 2

The second round starts and Pettis immediately takes the center again. The Bellator champion charges forward with a combination, but nothing significant lands. Good right hand lands for Juan Archuleta.

Archuleta shoots in and lands a takedown on Sergio Pettis just about 90 seconds into the second round. Pettis works his way back up to his feet and Archuleta presses him against the fence. However, Pettis breaks the guard and they go back to striking.

Nice jab lands for Pettis. Archuleta pushes forward and lands a good shot to the body, but misses wild up top. Pettis continues the pressure looking for his jab. Nasty left hand to the body lands for the Bellator bantamweight champion with two minutes left in the round.

Stiff jab from Pettis pops the head of Juan Archuleta. Archuleta pushes forward again, but Pettis gets the better of the striking and Archuleta is cut. Big left uppercut lands for Juan Archuleta.

Pettis tries to go up top, but Archuleta lands a couple of shots to the body. More pressure from the champion and he lands a nice left hook. The bell sounds in round two as Archuleta looks for a takedown. Very close round, but I lean towards Archuleta which makes it 1-1 at Bellator 258.

Round 3

Both men touch gloves to start the third round. Archuleta looks to take the center in this round, but he’s popped with a jab from Pettis. After the jab lands, Pettis goes back to taking the center of the cage with pressure.

Archuleta pushes forward and looks to land. Both men trade good right hands. Nice jab lands for the Bellator champion. Archuleta attempts to land some shots to the body, but he’s a bit out of range.

Pettis’ counter right hand has been landing all night and he lands another one. Archuleta presses forward trying to up the pressure, but Pettis clips him with a left hook and right hand.

Nice right hook lands for Archuleta. Both men step forward and land good shots. The striking numbers are very close halfway through the fight. Archuleta shoots for a takedown, however, he can’t get Sergio Pettis down.

The champion pushes Pettis against the fence and looks to work from the clinch. Pettis breaks the clinch and were back to striking. Archuleta pushes forward and lands a couple of shots. The round closes and the round was extremely close. I lean slightly towards Archuleta so I’ll say 2-1 Archuleta at Bellator 258.

Round 4

This is anyone’s fight heading into the fourth round at Bellator 258. Archuleta pushes forward immediately and both men land shots. Pettis lands the better shot with a nice right hand.

Good lead left hook lands for Juan Archuleta. Pettis backs up Archuleta with a nice left hand, but Archuleta grabs a body lock. Archuleta lands a brief takedown, but Pettis pops right back up.

Both men trade jabs as were back to striking. Two big counter right hands land for Sergio Pettis. Big body kick lands for Pettis. Pettis tries for a brief takedown, but Archuleta just shrugs him off.

However, once back to striking, Pettis lands a clean combination. Nice left hook lands for the Bellator champion. Pettis then lands a big right hand that backs the champion off.

Archuleta tries to push forward, but another clean counter right hand lands for Sergio Pettis. Good combination lands for the champion. Pettis lands a knee to the body and a nice right hand on the break.

Big body kick lands for Pettis. Counter left hook lands for Sergio Pettis and he’s feeling it here in the fourth round. Pettis just seems a step ahead of Archuleta as he lands another good counter here late in the round. The round comes to a close and I think it’s 2-2 entering the final round at Bellator 258.

Round 5

Entering the final round at Bellator 258 and I think it’s tied, but Pettis could very well be winning on the scorecards. Both men touch gloves as we start the final round and Archuleta immediately presses Pettis.

However, he’s unable to land anything clean. Nice jab lands for Pettis, but Archuleta shoots in for a takedown. He pushes him to the fence, but Pettis is able to stay up and he breaks the grip of Archuleta. Two straight jabs land for Sergio Pettis.

Nice right hand and left hook counter lands for Pettis. Pettis lands a nice calf kick which forces Archuleta to move back. Archuleta pushes forward, but he’s met with more counters from Pettis.

Nice body kick lands for Archuleta. Jab for Sergio Pettis and both men trade big shots in close. Archuleta pushes forward again, but Pettis beats him to the punch and backs him up.

Jab and right hand lands for Pettis. Archuleta shoots in deep for a takedown and he slams Pettis to the ground. Huge moment for the Bellator champion. If he can hold Pettis here, he can win the final round.

Archuleta goes into north-south and he looks to land knees to the body. The champion switches to side-control and he’s just holding the position. Pettis uses the fence and he’s able to explode up, but Archuleta holds the clinch.

The bell sounds and this one is going to be razor close. I give the final round and the fight to the Bellator champion 48-47, but I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Sergio Pettis gets the nod here.

Sergio Pettis def. Juan Archuleta by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)

Bellator 258 Preview: Juan Archuleta – Sergio Pettis

Juan Archuleta

Tomorrow night in the main event of Bellator 258, we will get to see the bantamweight title fight we’ve been waiting for. The bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta (25-2) will be defending his title against Sergio Pettis (20-5).

Pettis has been perfect so far since making the jump from the UFC to Bellator. He made his debut with Bellator in early 2020 and he’s won both of his matchups thus far to earn himself this title shot.

Pettis has been in there with some of the best in the world including Henry Cejudo, Joseph Benavidez, Rob Font, and Brandon Moreno. During his time with the UFC, Pettis primarily fought at 125 pounds, but upon arriving at Bellator, he wanted to be a bantamweight.

Pettis has always had the talent and tomorrow he gets his chance to become a champion. However, winning that title tomorrow is not going to be easy. He will have his hands full with Juan Archuleta.

Archuleta made his Bellator debut in 2018 and he’s been nearly perfect since. In eight bouts with the promotion, Archuleta is 7-1 with his lone loss coming to Patricio Pitbull at 145 pounds.

That said, he’s been perfect in Bellator‘s bantamweight division. In his last fight, He won a decision over Patchy Mix to capture the title and he’s looking for Sergio Pettis to be his first successful title defense tomorrow night.

Bellator 258 Prediction

This Bellator main event is incredibly intriguing and I’m very curious to see how it plays out. Sergio Pettis is good everywhere, but he really shines when he’s able to kickbox from range.

Pettis has very clean technique and when he’s point fighting from the outside, he’s tough to deal with. Archuleta has good hands and he fights with a very strong pace. He is also incredibly smart in there and he knows when to push the pedal down and when to slow down.

We’ve seen Archuleta go to his wrestling some in the past and that could be a key at Bellator 258. If these two just strike from range for five rounds, I really like Sergio Pettis to get the win here. I think the combination of kicks and accuracy from distance will be on full display.

That said, I’m going to go with Juan Archuleta here by a razor close decision. I think the Bellator champion will do a good job of mixing in the grappling with striking. Even if he’s not able to get Pettis down, I think he’ll force enough clinches and get enough control to edge three rounds.

Prediction: Juan Archuleta by Split Decision

Bellator officially books title fight between Juan Archuleta and Sergio Pettis

Juan Archuleta

Bellator MMA made a ton of announcements this afternoon. Starting with the big news that the promotion was moving over to Showtime. Then we got the news of the light heavyweight Grand Prix.

Another major announcement for Bellator was the announcement of the bantamweight title fight. The promotion announced today that Juan Archuleta (25-2) would be making his first title defense against Sergio Pettis (20-5).

The two best bantamweights that Bellator has to offer will go head-to-head on May 7th. As mentioned, Archuleta will be making the first defense of his bantamweight title. Archuleta won the title against Patchy Mix back in September.

The Spaniard is one of the best fighters that the promotion has to offer. However, a world championship had always evaded him. That changed back at Bellator 246 when he took on Patchy Mix.

The fight was far from easy for Juan Archuleta. Patchy Mix got the best of the fight early on, however, Archuleta was just biting his time. After Mix slowed down in the championship rounds, that’s where Archuleta took over. He won by decision and finally won his Bellator title.

Bellator Bantamweight Title

Standing across the cage from Archuleta is going to be Sergio Pettis. Pettis has been around for a long time, but he has never had a world championship opportunity until now. However, he’s come close on a number of occasions.

Pettis really got going in the UFC much like his brother, Anthony Pettis. Sergio Pettis holds wins over some of the best flyweights in the UFC like Joseph Benavidez and Brandon Moreno. However, upon the move to Bellator, Pettis has stuck to the bantamweight division.

Pettis has won both of his fights so far in Bellator which sets up this title fight against Archuleta. This is a tremendous matchup and one that fight fans should be excited for. Will Archuleta continue his reign or will Sergio Pettis finally realize his dream of becoming a world champion? This should be a good one.

Juan Archuleta will defend Bellator title against Sergio Pettis in 2021

Juan Archuleta

Last month, Bellator crowned a new bantamweight champion. That champion’s name is Juan Archuleta. Archuleta took on Patchy Mix on September 12th and walked away with a unanimous decision and the Bellator bantamweight title.

It was a massive moment of redemption for Archuleta who had long been after the Bellator title. When there was a state of limbo at bantamweight, Archuleta went up to featherweight to fight Patricio Pitbull to try go capture a title.

However, Pitbull turned away Archuleta. After fighting to an impressive 24-2 record, Archuleta finally got his chance at Bellator 246. Mix looked really good early on, but Archuleta remained patient. The vet had a game plan and he executed it perfectly.

Archuleta knew that Mix would tire in the championship rounds. That is exactly what happened, and Archuleta took over the fight capturing the Bellator title. Today, we learned who Archuleta’s first title defense would come against.

Archuleta made an appearance today on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” where he announced his next plans. “Our next fight, we’re shooting for the first of the year. The the first card back (after the new year) against Sergio Pettis. That’s the fight I originally wanted for the belt,” Archuleta said.

Bellator’s next bantamweight title fight

Sergio Pettis has looked really good since making the jump from the UFC to Bellator. Since joining the Viacom promotion, Pettis has gone 3-0. His last fight he looked very good using his technical striking to defeat Ricky Bandejas at Bellator 242.

Many people believed that Pettis would get the next shot at whoever won at Bellator 246. Now, we know for sure that Pettis will be the first challenger to Archuleta’s title. This should be a fantastic matchup for Bellator to kickoff their 2021 schedule.

Pettis is going to present some interesting challenges for Archuleta. His technical striking and range control could help him win the title. However, Archuleta is a handful for anyone and it’s going to be extremely tough getting that belt away from him now.

After Bellator Milan win, is James Gallagher in title contention?

This past weekend at Bellator Milan, James Gallagher (11-1) made a statement with his performance. The confident Irish bantamweight submitted a very tough and game Callum Ellenor (8-3) in the first round of their main event at Bellator Milan.

There was a lot of heat between the two bantamweights leading up to the contest. Gallagher shoved Ellenor at the pre-fight weigh in ceremony to draw up interest. Throughout the fight, Gallagher did a very good job of beating Ellenor wherever the fight took place.

Gallagher did a fantastic job of using his good kicks to keep Ellenor at range to start the fight. As soon as Ellenor tried to return a kick, Gallagher caught it and dragged him to the ground. That is where Gallagher completely took control of the fight.

Once the two were on the ground, it was all Gallagher. Ellenor tried to get up a few times, but ended up giving up his back to Gallagher. Once Gallagher has your back, you’re in deep trouble. The Irish bantamweight locked up a rear naked choke and won his fourth straight in the Bellator cage.

Bellator Title Contention?

Gallagher trains at the same gym as Conor McGregor, and he’s bitten off a little bit of that McGregor swagger. Gallagher was the hottest prospect in Bellator prior to him getting demolished by Ricky Bandejas back at Bellator 204.

That was a very humbling fight for Gallagher who had to refocus his career after that loss. Since that fight, Gallagher has gone 4-0 with three wins by rear naked choke inside the Bellator cage. After the fight, Gallagher said that he was coming for that bantamweight title.

Juan Archuleta just captured the vacant title with his win over Patchy Mix back at Bellator 246. Sergio Pettis is likely going to get the next shot at Archuleta. With that in mind, perhaps the promotion could book Gallagher against Patchy Mix.

The winner would definitely be deserving of a shot at the bantamweight title. I think it’s time for Gallagher to take that step up to really elite competition in the Bellator cage. It doesn’t get much better than top contender Patchy Mix.