Bellator MMA president, Scott Coker, recently announced the promotion’s upcoming Lightweight World Grand Prix for March 10, 2023, in San Jose, California. During his appearance on The MMA Hour, Coker also revealed the eight participants who will compete in the tournament for a shot at the 155-pound title and a $1 million payday.
The current division champion, Usman Nurmagomedov, will take part in the tournament and defend his lightweight strap each time out. Should he lose, the new champion will then have to defend the belt every subsequent round.
Former featherweight champion, A.J. McKee, will also take part as he looks to win his second Grand Prix after capturing the $1 million featherweight tournament in July 2021, submitting Patricio “Pitbull” Freire at Bellator 263.
McKee recently signed a contract extension with the promotion.
Former 155-pound champion, Patricky Pitbull, will attempt to earn his way back to a shot at the title after losing his belt to Nurmagomedov at Bellator 288 on Nov. 22. Also, longtime veteran, Benson Henderson, will look to make another run at the strap while former RIZIN champion, Tofiq Musayev, eyes his first Bellator world championship.
Rounding out the participants is Mansour Barnaoui, who made a successful debut with the promotion at Bellator 287, along with No. 5 ranked Sidney Outlaw and Alexander Shabliy, who currently sits at No. 4 in the rankings. A notable absence is former champion, Brent Primus, though he may still be able to qualify as an alternate should the occasion arise.
The brackets for the tournament have not yet been revealed.
The Bantamweight Grand Prix is set to conclude this year — possibly before the start of the Lightweight tournament — as Patchy Mix and interim champion, Raufeon Stots, will fight for the $1 million paycheck and the right to face current champion, Sergio Pettis, later this year.
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