Pettis vs. Bandejas to Headline Bellator Return on July 24

Sergio Pettis Bellator MMA
Sergio Pettis, Bellator 238 Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Sergio Pettis will meet Ricky Bandejas in a bantamweight bout in what will be the first Bellator event in over four months on July 24.

A bout between bantamweights Sergio Pettis and Ricky Bandejas is on tap as the headliner in what will be Bellator’s return to action on July 24.  First reported by Combate and later confirmed by MMA Fighting, the two bantamweights will headline the first event put on by the promotion since March.  The fight is expected to take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

As the second largest promotion for mixed martial arts in the United States, it came as a shock when Bellator elected to cancel their event at the eleventh hour on March 13.  After having already had all fighters weigh-in and closing off the venue to fans, the promotion made the decision on the morning of the event to cancel it altogether.  That card was set to be headlined by current two-division champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire against Pedro Carvalho in what would have been the last quarterfinal of the Bellator featherweight Grand Prix.

Sergio Pettis had a successful Bellator debut this past January after having spent six years in the UFC.  After a run that saw him compete in two weight classes, Pettis entered as an immediate contender in Bellator’s bantamweight division and looked the part as he dismantled former LXF featherweight champion Alfred Kashakyan in his debut.  After his victory, Pettis expressed that he was open to any opponent although many quickly pointed toward a match-up with brash prospect James Gallegher for the vacant title.

Ricky Bandejas alerted the MMA world to his presence with a first round finish of Gallegher that made the rounds on Sportscenter in 2019.  After going on a two fight skid following his seminal victory, Bandejas got back in the win-column with victories over Ahmet Kayretli and Frans Miambo.  The victory over Miambo in particular was in February at what ended up being the final Bellator event prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amy Kaplan of Fansided reports that a bout between Cass Bell and Raufeon Stots will also take place at the event.  No further bouts have been announced or made official at this time.