Bellator MMA is back in a big way. The promotion returned with its debut card for 2021 on April 2 and saw two-division champion Patricio Pitbull defend his featherweight crown with a first-round submission of Emmanuel Sanchez. The win sets up a massive fight later this year against top contender AJ McKee in the World Featherweight Grand Prix final that also has $1 million up for grabs.
Then, the promotion kicked off its latest World Grand Prix, this time in the light heavyweight division. Former 205-pound titleholder Ryan Bader grounded out Lyoto Machida in the opening fight to advance to the semifinals. The former champ, who currently holds the heavyweight crown, is hoping for a rematch with current strapholder Vadim Nemkov.
Speaking of Nemkov, he advanced to the semifinals with a win over Phil Davis in their rematch in April. The current champ outstruck and outpointed the gritty veteran to take the fight on the scorecards. Plus, Corey Anderson stopped Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov in their quarterfinal matchup to advance and face Bader in the semis.
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Then, despite losing his opponent on short notice, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson made a thunderous debut in May. The former UFC title challenger survived an early knockdown against Jose Augusto to get the finish and advance to a matchup with Nemkov in the semis. Plus, a new bantamweight champion was crowned when Sergio Pettis outpointed Juan Archuleta for the title. (Bellator and CBS Sports are both owned by ViacomCBS).
There's still another card to come in May as women's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg takes on Leslie Smith in a rematch years in the making on May 21.
As we move into June, welterweight champion Douglas Lima makes his return when he takes on top contender Yaroslav Amosov. Lima hasn't fought at 170 pounds since 2019 after attempting to move up to 185 to face Gegard Mousasi for the middleweight title. Lima lost by decision and now looks to start another win streak against an undefeated fighter who may be his toughest test to date in the division.
Be sure to check back in on this page to stay up to date on the upcoming Bellator events throughout the remainder of the year.
Upcoming Bellator MMA schedule
|Event||Date||Main event||Weight class||Location||TV|
|Bellator 259||May 21||Cris Cyborg (c) vs. Leslie Smith||Women's featherweight title||Uncasville, Connecticut||Showtime|
|Bellator 260||June 11||Douglas Lima (c) vs. Yaroslav Amosov||Welterweight title||Uncasville, Connecticut||Showtime|
|Bellator 261||June 25||Tim Johnson vs. Valentin Moldavsky||Interim heavyeight title||Uncasville, Connecticut||Showtime|