The Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix continues this weekend at Bellator 228, with featherweight Champion Patricio Pitbull defending the gold against Juan Archuleta in the main event. Four fighters have already advanced in the grand prix and another four will also do so once Bellator 228 commences.
Once the event is over, a selection show will take place to determine the quarterfinal round brackets as the fighters, based on fastest finishing time, will pick who they face in the next round.
Bellator MMA issued the following press release:
BELLATOR FEATHERWEIGHT WORLD GRAND PRIX SELECTION SHOW TO TAKE PLACE LIVE DURING BELLATOR 228 BROADCAST ON DAZN
LOS ANGELES – The opening round of the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix will conclude with Bellator's two-division champion Patricio "Pitbull" (29-4) defending his 145-pound title against Juan Archuleta (23-1) at Bellator 228 on Saturday, September 28 at the "Fabulous" Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Before the title is defended, the opening round will also see former Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell (13-3) move up in weight to battle Henry Corrales (17-3), two of Bellator's top European athletes Daniel Weichel (39-11) and Saul Rogers (13-2) square off and AJ McKee (14-0) looking to extend the longest winning streak in Bellator history against Georgi Karakhanyan (28-9-1, 1 NC).
Lastly on the main card, a battle between two of the sport's most prolific middleweights will also take place, as former UFC world champion Lyoto Machida (26-8) looks to improve to 2-0 against Bellator's former 185-pound champion, Gegard Mousasi (45-7-2) in a highly anticipated clash.
Bellator 228 will stream live exclusively on DAZN at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com, DAZN and globally on the Bellator Mobile App beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT
For the first time ever, the Bellator World Grand Prix adds a new and exciting element that puts the upcoming matchups solely in the hands of the fighters. Following the conclusion of the title bout between "Pitbull" and Archuleta, the advancing competitors will take center stage for the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix Selection Show to set the bracket for the rest of the tournament and determine their fate at becoming world champion and taking home one million dollars.
The fighters will begin by drawing a random number in the order in which they competed in their respective opening round bouts, with Emmanuel Sanchez set to pick first. This number will dictate the order in which they select their desired slot in the bracket, beginning with No. 1. Seeing the upcoming event dates and any previous picks made, and with the help of a coach or training partner that will be allowed onstage with the fighter to consult, a decision must be made…is the date of the next round of the utmost importance? Do you take on an "easier" opponent to try and advance to the next round? Or do you go toe-to-toe with a fierce rival right away in pursuit of a world title?
Prior to Bellator 228's main card, multiple must-see preliminary bouts are set to go off, including Shawn Bunch (9-3) vs. Leandro Higo (18-5) at bantamweight, as well as the in-ring returns of both Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace AJ Agazarm (1-1) and Machida brother-training partner Weber Almeida (2-0), and the MMA debut of former WBC and IBF champ Ava Knight, as she trades in her boxing gloves for MMA gloves for the first time. Notably, fans will also see the return of Antonio McKee (29-6-2), father of AJ McKee, who competes for the first time since 2014 against William Sriyapai (14-8).
Bellator 228 – Exclusively on DAZN– 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT
Middleweight Feature Bout: Lyoto Machida (26-8) vs. Gegard Mousasi (45-7-2)
--Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix Selection Show--
Featherweight World Grand Prix Title Bout: Patricio "Pitbull" Freire (29-4) vs. Juan Archuleta (23-1)
Featherweight World Grand Prix Opening Round: AJ McKee (14-0) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (28-9-1, 1 NC)
Featherweight World Grand Prix Opening Round: Darrion Caldwell (13-3) vs. Henry Corrales (17-3)
Featherweight World Grand Prix Opening Round: Daniel Weichel (39-11) vs. Saul Rogers (13-2)
Updated Preliminary Card – Live and free on the Bellator app – 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT
Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Adrian Najera (1-0) vs. Jason Edwards (2-0)
130-lb. Contract Weight Preliminary Bout: Johnny Santa Maria (3-4) vs. Benji Gomez (8-13)
Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Andre Walker (5-2) vs. Ozzy Diaz (3-1)
165-lb. Contract Weight Preliminary Bout: Emilio Williams (4-2, 2 NC) vs. Ian Butler (6-6, 1 NC)
Featherweight Preliminary Bout: AJ Agazarm (1-1) vs. Jonathan Quiroz (3-3)
Strawweight Preliminary Bout: Ava Knight (Pro Debut) vs. Shannon Goughary (4-3)
165-lb. Contract Weight Preliminary Bout: Antonio McKee (29-6-2) vs. William Sriyapai (14-8)
175-lb. Contract Weight Preliminary Bout: Mike Jasper (13-5) vs. Johnny Cisneros (12-7)
Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Shawn Bunch (9-3) vs. Leandro Higo (18-5)
Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Weber Almeida (2-0) vs. Castle Williams (4-2)
Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Joshua Jones (8-4) vs. Dominic Clark (14-8)
133-lb. Contract Weight Preliminary Bout: James Barnes (11-4) vs. David Duran (8-5)
*Card subject to change
Please visit Bellator.com for more information.
Bellator is a leading global mixed martial arts and kickboxing promotion featuring many of the best athletes in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator events take place in major cities worldwide and can be seen on television in over 160 countries to an available audience of over one billion people. In the United States, Bellator can be seen on both Paramount Network and DAZN, the world's first truly dedicated LIVE sports streaming service. Bellator is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations. Bellator is based in Hollywood, Calif. and owned by entertainment giant Viacom, home to the world's premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.
DAZN is the largest global sports streaming platform in the world. Since launching in 2016, DAZN has expanded across four continents with the app currently available for download in the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Japan and Brazil. In the U.S., DAZN has made its mark as an attractive alternative to pay-per-view within the combat sports industry. The platform features big fights from Matchroom Boxing, Golden Boy Promotions, GGG Promotions, Bellator MMA, the World Boxing Super Series and Combate Americas, all for one affordable price, on any device - including smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, games consoles and PCs. DAZN also features live MLB action each day of the season with its new daily show, ChangeUp. The much-anticipated daily program The Pat McAfee Show launched in September.
About the Forum:
The award-winning "Fabulous" Forum, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. The Forum, located in Inglewood, California, is the largest indoor performance venue in the country designed with a focus on music and entertainment, in addition to select sporting events. The interior of the bowl features flexible seating that ranges from 17,500 seats to 7,000 seats, enabling the venue to attract a wide variety of premier events. Fans at the Forum enjoy approximately 8,000 square feet of event level hospitality offerings, including merchandise, along with food and beverage options from some of SoCal's most celebrated brands. A tinted glass wall separates this concession area from the arena, ensuring fans do not miss a moment of the performance. A 40,000 square foot outdoor terrace surrounds the perimeter of the building and offers food and beverage options, as well as comfortable furnishings, to further elevate guests' enjoyment. The Forum delivers a one-of-a-kind experience for all thanks to its superior acoustics, intimate ambiance and state-of-the-art facilities. Designed with entertainers and performers in mind, the Forum includes nine, star-caliber dressing rooms that provide unparalleled comfort. The Forum is owned and operated by The Madison Square Garden Company. In addition to the Forum, The Madison Square Garden Company owns or operates Madison Square Garden, The Theater at MSG, Radio City Music Hall, the Chicago Theatre, the Wang Theatre, and the Beacon Theater. For more information on the Forum, please visit www.fabulousforum.com.