One of the top welterweights on the Bellator roster is set to return to the circular cage as Neiman Gracie meets Mark Lemminger, promotion officials told MMA Fighting. The bout will serve as the co-main event for Bellator 266 in San Jose, Calif., on Sept. 18.
Gracie (10-2) has gone 1-1 since challenging Rory MacDonald for the 170-pound championship in 2019, tapping Jon Fitch with a heel hook before dropping a decision to Jason Jackson this past April. The 32-year-old Gracie currently holds an 8-2 record under the Bellator banner with all but one of his wins coming by way of submission.
Lemminger (12-3) joined Bellator in 2020 and stopped Jake Smith in his debut before losing to future champion Yaroslav Amosov and Jaleel Willis later that year. Lemminger rebounded in June, finishing ex-LFA title contender Demarques Jackson in the second round.
Bellator 266 will have a different start time than usual as part of a special combat sports doubleheader on Showtime. Earlier that night, the super bantamweight world championship of boxing will be on the line between Brandon Figueroa and Stephen Fulton Jr. Bellator 266 kicks off immediately after the boxing showdown.