Former bantamweight champ Darrion Caldwell will return to the weight class at Bellator 259 — where he’ll have a rematch with former title challenger Leandro Higo on his hands.
MMA Fighting was first to report news of the booking.
Caldwell (15-4) had been taking part in the promotion’s featherweight grand prix, making it through the first two rounds, until he ran into A.J. McKee in a Submission of the Year candidate that saw McKee end Caldwell’s tournament run with a neck crank. Prior to the defeat, Caldwell had made it past Henry Corrales and top 145lb contender Adam Borics.
Higo (20-5) will enter the fight off two straight submission wins, over Shawn Bunch and Ricky Bandejas. The only downside, Higo missed weight in his last outing, against Bandejas.
Caldwell and Higo first met in 2018 at Bellator 195, while Caldwell was the promotion’s bantamweight champion. He’d wind up submitting Higo in the opening round, securing his lone title defense. From there, Caldwell would defeat Noad Lahat in a featherweight bout, then lose back-to-back fights against Kyoji Horiguchi before entering the grand prix.
Bellator 259 takes place May 21, 2021 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The main card airs live on Showtime in the U.S., following online prelims. The event is headlined by a women’s featherweight title fight between champ Cris Cyborg, and Leslie Smith, a rematch of their 2016 encounter.