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Bellator announces light heavyweight grand prix in its move to Showtime

Phil Davis (red gloves) won a split decision

Phil Davis (red gloves) won a split decision over Lyoto Machida in a light heavyweight bout at Bellator 245 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Sept. 11, 2020. Credit: Bellator MMA/Lucas Noonan

There will be a new tournament and a new network for Bellator MMA this year.

Bellator announced Tuesday that its new exclusive home for events will be Showtime, with fights on Friday nights beginning April 2. The events will air live across the country.

"Bellator has matured and elevated itself to a point where it now belongs on a premium television network," Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza said.

Showtime and Bellator are both owned by parent company ViacomCBS.

Bellator will complete its featherweight grand prix, with champion Patricio Pitbull Freire facing Emmanuel Sanchez in the remaining semifinal on April 2. The winner will face A.J. McKee for the Bellator title, the grand prix title and $1 million.

Bellator also announced a light heavyweight grand prix, which showcases a number of the promotion's bigger free-agent signings in the past year. The fights are:

- Corey Anderson vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov

- Ryan Bader vs. Lyoto Machida

- Anthony Johnson vs. Yoel Romero

- Vadim Nemkov vs. Phil Davis

Anderson and Yagshimuradov will kick off the tournament on April 9, as will Bader and Machida. The other quarterfinals will take place on April 16, with the semifinals scheduled for July and the final for October.

New York Sports