Bellator MMA spent Tuesday afternoon making some blockbuster announcements during a special press conference about what is to come for the promotion in the next couple of months. Alongside the reveal that they would now be airing exclusively on Showtime beginning in April, Bellator also set the headliners for some of its future events.
Bellator 255 is set to take place on April 2 and will be headlined by the featherweight Grand Prix semifinal between Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire and Emmanuel Sanchez. It is the first event that will air on Showtime.
Freire and Sanchez have already met once before back in 2018 at Bellator 209, where the current champion defeated Sanchez by unanimous decision. Both Freire and Sanchez would then go on to compete once more before joining the 16-man Grand Prix that began in September 2019.
Freire recently advanced to the semifinals after knocking out Pedro Carvalho at Bellator 252 last November, which marked his fourth straight successful defense of the featherweight title since reacquiring it in 2017. Sanchez also competed at Bellator 252 and earned a unanimous decision over Daniel Weichel.
The winner of the rematch between Freire and Sanchez will meet AJ McKee in the finals on a soon-to-be determined date.
Bellator 258 will come a little over a month later on May 7 with the first title defense of newly crowned bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta scheduled. Archuleta, who returned to the bantamweight division and won the vacant championship against Patchy Mix at Bellator 246, meets Sergio Pettis in the main event of the card.
Following his departure from the UFC last year, Pettis has fought twice under the Bellator banner. He made his debut at Bellator 238 and submitted Alfred Khashakyan in the first round of their fight. Pettis returned at Bellator 242 against Ricky Bandejas, who he defeated by unanimous decision.