After an opening round of exhilarating action to kick off the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix, the stage is set for the advancing participants who will compete onward.
Eight match-ups have come and gone and the lineup of Featherweight bouts next to occur were announced at the ending of the Bellator 228 taping in Inglewood, California on September 28.
The final four participants in the Grand Prix tourney earned their way into the next round this past Saturday.
A. J. McKee garnered the most exciting victory of the night against Georgi Karakhanyan with an eight second knockout in the very first round to advance. Darrion Caldwell defeated Henry Corrales by way of unanimous judges decision as did German veteran Daniel Weichel who defeated Saul Rogers.
The final bout of the opening round was a Bellator Featherweight title fight between defending champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and rising star Juan Archuleta. Freire would win the bout by way of unanimous decision victory and successfully retain the title over the course of five rounds (49-46, 50-45, 49-46).
Earlier in the summer of this year, four other bouts took place in the opening round of the Grand Prix tournament at Bellator 226:
- Ádám Borics def. Pat Curran via TKO (Punches) Round 2
- Derek Campos def. Daniel Straus via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
- Pedro Carvalho def. Sam Sicilia via Submission (Neck Crank) Round 2
- Emmanuel Sanchez def. Tywan Claxton via Submission (Triangle Choke) Round 2
Minutes after the Bellator title fight Saturday night, at the conclusion of the opening round bouts, the fighters all selected numbers that allowed them to choose the dates when they would compete between December 2019, January 2020, February 2020 and the final fight in March 2020.
While “Pitbull” was actually the last fighter to draw, he was allowed a “champion’s choice” clause which gave him the option to hand pick his date and opponent. Freire would opt to take on Pedro Carvalho in March of 2020, stating that he needed a time to rest following a five-round bout against Archuleta.
Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals:
- A.J. McKee vs. Derek Campos — Dec. 2019
- Adam Borics vs. Darrion Caldwell — Jan. 2020
- Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Daniel Weichel — Feb. 2020
- Patricio “Pitbull” Freire vs. Pedro Carvalho — March 2020