Armed with one of the deepest rosters at 135 pounds in the entire sport, Bellator MMA announced on Friday it will promote an eight-man World Grand Prix tournament in 2022 with the promotion's bantamweight title and a $1 million prize at stake for the winner.
The tournament was announced during the Bellator 272 broadcast, which features a must-see bantamweight title main event pairing new champion Sergio Pettis (21-5) against former titleholder Kyoji Horiguchi (29-3). Both fighters agreed to headline the tournament, which will be structured similar to Grand Prix's promoted by Bellator in the featherweight and light heavyweight divisions over the past year.
The Bantamweight World Grand Prix is official! 🔥— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) December 4, 2021
Coming in 2022, the #BellatorBWGP will feature @SergioPettis, @Kyoji1012, @LeandroHigoMMA, @TeamMixMMA, @JArchMMA, Magomed Magomedov, @StrabanimalMMA and @RaufeonStots.#Bellator272 pic.twitter.com/1koQ0yvMeu
Pettis and Horiguchi will be joined by another former champion in Juan Archuleta (25-3), who captured the vacant bantamweight title in 2020 against Patchy Mix (15-1), who will also be in the tournament. Archuleta went on to lose the title by decision to Pettis in May.
The final four fighters in the Grand Prix are all ranked in the top six by Bellator at 135 pounds: Magomed Magomedov (18-2), James Gallagher (11-2), Raufeon Stots (17-1) and Leandro Higo (21-5).
"I'm excited. One-million dollars and a chance at the belt, what more could you want?" Mix said during the Bellator 272 broadcast. "Of course I want the belt but I want the money, too."
All first-round matchups and additional details such as dates, locations and tournament alternates will be revealed soon, the promotion said in a press release. All tournament bouts will be five-round bouts and the Grand Prix will air exclusively in the United States on Showtime.