Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis will no longer be part of the promotion’s next grand prix.
Promotional officials confirmed to MMA Fighting on Tuesday that Pettis is out of the tournament due to an undisclosed injury. Pettis was scheduled to defend his title against Raufeon Stots at Bellator 279 in the opening round, but now Juan Archuleta will step in to face Stots for an interim 135-pound title at the April 23 event in Hawaii. CBS Sports was the first to report the change.
As of now, a replacement for Pettis in the field has yet to be determined. The winner of the grand prix will not only have the interim bantamweight championship, but the $1 million prize — which will be in addition to the competitor’s normal fight purses throughout the tournament.
Pettis took to Facebook on Tuesday morning to reveal that his injury will require surgery and keep him out of action for six to nine months.
The injury to Pettis comes in the middle of arguably the best run of his career. “The Phenom” has won five straight, including defeating Archuleta for his first world title at Bellator 258 this past May. The eighth-ranked fighter in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings capped off 2021 with one of the most vicious knockouts of the year, delivering a spinning back fist to Kyoji Horiguchi at Bellator 272 in December.
Along with bout between Archuleta and Stots, Cris Cyborg will defend her featherweight title against Arlene Blencowe at Bellator 279, while Horiguchi will meet Patchy Mix in a second first-round matchup.