A long-awaited superfight is headed to Bellator 221.
Michael Chandler is set to put his lightweight title on the line against featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire on May 11, ESPN reported Thursday morning. The event takes place at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.
Chandler and Freire have gone back and forth for years, especially after Chandler beat Freire’s brother Patricky Freire for the vacant lightweight title in 2016. But the pair of champions have yet to run into each other in the cage, mostly because they are titleholders in separate weight classes and have been defending their respective belts.
Chandler lost the lightweight title to Brent Primus at Bellator NYC in June 2017, but followed that up with two straight wins. In his most recent bout, he met Primus for the second time and won back the championship by one-sided decision.
Freire is coming off an entertaining 145-pound title defense against Emmanuel Sanchez in November. The Brazilian bested Sanchez by decision.
According to ESPN, the winner of this weekend’s Michael Page vs. Paul Daley fight is expected to fight Douglas Lima in the welterweight grand prix semifinals also at Bellator 221. A featherweight bout between former champ Pat Curran and rising contender A.J. McKee is also booked for the card, per the report.
Former WWE star Jake Hager is also expected to make his second Bellator and MMA appearance on the card.
Bellator is expected to confirm the Bellator 221 news later this week.