Bellator MMA returns!
Bellator MMA’s most recent event was Saturday, Feb. 22 in Dublin, Ireland for Bellator Dublin/ Bellator 240.
As is commonplace with Bellator MMA events in the Bellator European Series, the Feb. 22 card was split into two shows, with the Bellator Dublin portion of the event shown live worldwide on the Bellator app and YouTube channel.
At the time, Bellator had planned on a March 13 return in Uncasville, CT at Mohegan Sun Arena for Bellator 241, but on the day of the event, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker announced that the show would be postponed due to concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19.)
Subsequent to the March 13 announcement just hours before Bellator 241 was to have taken place, Bellator announced later that month the cancellation of all shows through May, extending to the planned June 6 event in Chicago.
Since then, it’s been over 120 days, four months, since Bellator MMA was last scheduled to hold an event, and nearly 150 days, five months, since it last held an event.
However, Brazilian outlet Combate reported on Tuesday that the wait will soon be over, with Bellator MMA returning next Friday night, July 24, live from Mohegan Sun Arena.
Those closest to the situation confirmed the July 24 date to ESPN Tuesday evening.
Main event for the show booked:
Next Friday’s show already has its main event booked.
UFC veteran Sergio Pettis (19-5), who recorded his first Bellator MMA victory in his promotional debut on Jan. 25 (first-round submission via guillotine choke) vs, Alfred Kashakyan in Bellator 238, will fight Ricky Bandejas (13-3) in the July 24 headliner.
Bandejas recorded a second-round knockout (left hook) vs. Frans Miambo on Feb. 22 in Bellator 240.
Other main card fights also booked for Bellator next weekend include:
Aaron Pico (5-3) vs. Solo Hatley Jr. (8-2) [Featherweight]
Jordan Mein (31-12) vs. Jason Jackson (11-4) [Welterweight]
The originally-targeted headliner for next Friday was to have been Juan Archuleta (24-2) vs. Patrick Mix, also known as Patchy Mix (13-0.)
Bellator’s Bantamweight championship was to be at stake that night.
That fight was postponed to a later card in light of Archuleta’s shoulder injury.
More shows coming up in the next few months:
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported:
“The promotion is hoping to run several dates at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut: July 24, Aug. 7, Aug. 21, and Sept. 11. The final three are not locked in.”
As has been the case with all MMA shows since the pandemic hit, these Bellator cards will be held without fans in attendance and with strict safety protocol enacted in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
More fights for Bellator’s next show will be revealed in the coming days and we’ll have a preview of the show next week.
Welcome back, Bellator.