The infamous “Shark Tank” in San Jose, California will play host to two massive title fights as Bellator MMA loads up for a huge event on Friday, April 15.
Topping the card is a rematch of the biggest fight in Bellator history, as newly-crowned Bellator featherweight champion A.J. McKee, takes on the man he defeated to win the crown, former two-division champ Patricio Pitbull, in a featherweight title rematch at the SAP Center, home of NHL’s San Jose Sharks.
McKee finished Pitbull in the first round via technical submission as he choked out the Brazilian via guillotine in the final of the Bellator featherweight grand prix.
It meant that McKee banked the grand prix title, a cool $1 million, and, crucially, the Bellator featherweight title.
After improving his perfect professional record to 18-0 with his finish of Pitbull, McKee immediately stated his desire to face the Brazilian again, this time for his lightweight belt.
But instead Pitbull opted to relinquish the title and his brother Patricky claimed the vacant belt after becoming the first fighter to stop Ireland’s Peter Queally.
Now Patricio has revenge on his mind as he gets set to face McKee again with the featherweight title the only prize in his sights.
The Brazilian is a two-time Bellator featherweight champion and a one-time lightweight champ, and has a record of 32-5. He’ll be hoping his 33rd career win sees him become a three-time champion at 145 pounds.
The night’s co-main event also features championship action as the Bellator light heavyweight tournament reaches its finale.
Reigning 205-pound champion Vadim Nemkov has successfully run the gauntlet of the tournament’s bracket stages, retaining his title at each step to reach the tournament final.
Facing him in the finale is Corey Anderson, who blitzed his way to the final with a stunning 51-second knockout of former light heavyweight champion and current heavyweight champ Ryan Bader in the semifinals.
The former UFC contender never got his shot at gold in the octagon, but his performances inside the Bellator cage have earned him his first opportunity at a world title.
The two title fights head up a fight card that already has six bouts confirmed.
Heading the list of confirmed preliminary card fights is a heavyweight battle between veteran heavyweight contender Tim Johnson and rising heavyweight contender Tyrell Fortune, while welterweights Kyle Crutchmer and Michael Lombardo are also set to face off.
Rounding out the list of confirmed bouts to date are a pair of matchups featuring emerging Bellator prospects. Welterweights Shane Keefe and Tyson Miller will go head to head at 170 pounds, while Gaston Bolanos and Cass Bell will do battle in a 140-pound contract weight bout.
Bellator 277: Confirmed Bouts
- A.J. McKee (c) vs. Patricio Pitbull – for featherweight title
- Vadim Nemkov (c) vs. Corey Anderson – for heavyweight title / Bellator light heavyweight grand prix final
- Tim Johnson vs. Tyrell Fortune
- Kyle Crutchmer vs. Michael Lombardo
- Shane Keefe vs. Tyson Miller
- Gaston Bolanos vs. Cass Bell