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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. The two are officially set to meet on July 31 in Los Angeles in what could be the biggest fight in promotional history.

Plus, the promotion opened up its latest Grand Prix, this time in the light heavyweight division. The four men remaining head to the semifinals as champion Vadim Nemkov, Corey Anderson, Ryan Bader and Anthony "Rumble" Johnson all vie for the $1 million prize and the 205-pound title.

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The summer really gets into gear with that massive fight to close the Featherweight World Grand Prix between Pitbull and McKee. It's arguably the biggest fight in the promotion's history where an argument could be made that the winner is the best fighter in Bellator history (Bellator and CBS Sports are both owned by ViacomCBS).

Then we move into August with the return of middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi as he faces off with top contender Jon Salter. Plus, arguably the greatest heavyweight in MMA history is ready for a homecoming when Fedor Emelianenko heads back to Russia to headline a fight card from Moscow, Russia. It will be Bellator MMA's first event ever in Russia.

And the promotion is ready to head back to London this fall when a pair of top welterweight contenders rematch in the main event as Douglas Lima takes on Michael "Venom" Page at the SSE Arena. Lima scored a thrilling second-round TKO over Page in the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix en route to reclaiming his title as champion. He lost the belt in June to Yaroslav Amosov and this could be a de facto No. 1 contender's bout.

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

EventDateMain eventWeight classLocationTV
Bellator 263July 31Patricio Pitbull (c) vs. AJ McKeeFeatherweight titleLos AngelesShowtime
Bellator 264Aug. 13Gegard Mousasi (c) vs. Jon SalterMiddleweight titleUncasville, ConnecticutShowtime
Bellator 265Aug. 20Cheick Kongo vs. Sergei KharitonovHeavyweightsSioux Falls, South DakotaShowtime
Bellator LondonOct. 1Douglas Lima vs. Michael Page 2WelterweightsLondonShowtime
TBDOct. 23Fedor Emelianenko vs. TBDHeavyweightsMoscow, RussiaShowtime