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Bellator announces welterweight tournament pairings

Rory MacDonald attends the Bellator-DAZN announcement press conference

Rory MacDonald attends the Bellator-DAZN announcement press conference on June 26, 2018 at Viacom in New York City. Credit: Getty Images for Bellator MMA/Dave Kotinsky

The first-round matchups and tournament bracket for Bellator MMA’s welterweight grand prix have been announced.

A trilogy fight between former Bellator welterweight champions Douglas Lima and Andrey Koreshkov will be the first quarterfinal contested in the tournament. The pair meets for the third time on Sept. 29 at SAP Center in San Jose.

Rory MacDonald will be fighting for the middleweight title that night against Gegard Mousasi, but the current welterweight champion now also has his first-round opponent for the grand prix. MacDonald is slated to defend the 170-pound belt in the quarterfinals against Jon Fitch at an event still to be determined. Any fight in the tournament featuring a welterweight champion also serves as a title fight for that belt, with the winner of the grand prix becoming the undisputed Bellator welterweight champion.

British brawlers Paul Daley and Michael “Venom” Page also have been paired for a quarterfinal matchup, while unbeaten prospects Neiman Gracie and Ed Ruth meet in the final first-round fight. An alternate bout between Lorenz Larkin and Yaroslav Amosov also well be contested.

The welterweight grand prix will air entirely on DAZN, Bellator’s new exclusive streaming partner. All tournament bouts are scheduled for five five-minute rounds.

New York Sports