The first matchup in Bellator’s featherweight grand prix tournament is set.
Patricio Freire will defend his 145-pound title against Juan Archuleta on Sept. 28 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, ESPN reported Wednesday. It is one of eight first-round tournament bouts, all of which are expected to take place in the fall.
In his last fight, Freire knocked out Michael Chandler at Bellator 221 to win the lightweight championship, becoming the second fighter in Bellator history to hold two titles simultaneously. “Pitbull” hinted at a drop to 135 pounds after the win, but ultimately settled with competing in the upcoming tournament.
Archuleta is coming off a brutal knockout of former bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas in a 145-pound contest at Bellator 222. The 31-year-old has won 18 fights in a row and is 5-0 under the Bellator banner.
Bellator’s featherweight grand prix is its third tournament in the past two years. Ryan Bader won the heavyweight grand prix earlier this year and was subsequently crowned the vacant champ. And Rory MacDonald vs. Douglas Lima will decide the winner of the welterweight grand prix this fall.