When the sports world mostly shut down during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Bellator MMA joined in, stopping a March 13 event just hours before its scheduled start.
Four months later, the promotion is ready to return.
Bellator will hold its first event since the pandemic shutdown with Bellator 242 on July 24 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, the location of the canceled March event. No fans will be in attendance, according to a news release.
“On March 13, Bellator made the decision to postpone that evening’s event at Mohegan Sun Arena for the health and safety of the athletes, staff and everyone involved,” the release said. “Keeping the health and safety of all involved as the top priority, the event on July 24 will be held without fans in attendance.”
The main card will begin at 10 p.m. and air on Paramount Network. Preliminary bouts will be streamed on Bellator’s YouTube channel at 8:45 p.m.
Bellator stayed on the sidelines as the pandemic took hold, postponing events planned through April and May. That contrasted with its biggest competitor, the UFC, which held events in Jacksonville beginning on May 9 and then in Las Vegas in June before establishing a “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi in July.
“The team has worked tirelessly to make this show happen and I know the fighters are ready to compete,” said Bellator president Scott Coker in a news release.
A three-round bantamweight contest between Ricky Bandejas and Sergio Pettis will serve as the main event for Bellator 242. Hailing from New Jersey, Bandejas will be going for his third straight win after two consecutive knockout victories. A UFC veteran and brother of former UFC champion Anthony Pettis, Sergio Pettis makes his second appearance in Bellator after a submission win over Alfred Khashakyan in January. The event will also feature the Bellator debut of longtime UFC fighter Jordan Mein against Jason Jackson, as well as a return to featherweight for Aaron Pico against Chris Hatley Jr.
Bantamweight Main Event: Ricky Bandejas (13-3) vs. Sergio Pettis (19-5)
Welterweight Co-Main Event: Jason Jackson (11-4) vs. Jordan Mein (31-12)
Featherweight: Tywan Claxton (6-1) vs. Jay Jay Wilson (5-0)
Featherweight: Aaron Pico (5-3) vs. Chris Hatley, Jr. (8-2)
Welterweight: Logan Storley (11-0) vs. Mark Lemminger (10-1)
Bantamweight: Raufeon Stots (13-1) vs. Cass Bell (5-0)
Heavyweight: Steve Mowry (7-0) vs. Rudy Schaffroth (6-1, 1 NC)