Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis has been forced to withdraw from his April 23 bout with Raufeon Stots, Juan Archuleta will now step into the fight with an interim title on the line.
The Bellator bantamweight champion will unfortunately not be part of the upcoming Grand Prix. On Tuesday morning, CBS Sports reported that Sergio Pettis had suffered an injury that forced him out of his fight with Raufeon Shots on April 23. Instead, former champion Juan Archuleta will be stepping into the bout on roughly a month’s notice and the bout with Shots will now be for an interim title.
Pettis took to Facebook to write a message, stating:
“Well Bellator should be announcing today that I’m out the tournament for a million dollars. Sustained a injury last Monday that will put me out for 6-9 months and I’ll be getting my first surgery after years of competing. Just wasn’t meant to be and I’ve come to peace with that. Definitely depressing but I’m ready to get this ball rolling and return asap.”
Pettis had claimed the title from Archuleta last May and later defended it in what was considered the Comeback of the Year in rallying back to finish reigning RIZIN champion Kyoji Horiguchi in the fourth round last December. Though the exact nature of his injury was undisclosed, he did state that it would require surgery.
Archuleta will be competing for the first time since the Pettis fight when he takes on Stots. A longtime veteran who has competed in multiple weight classes, Archuleta won the bantamweight title in 2020 before losing it to Pettis last year and also competed against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire for the featherweight world title in the previous Grand Prix. “The Spaniard” previously won titles in multiple weight classes in the regional promotion King of the Cage.
Stots enters the bout on an impressive nine fight win-streak and was likely to be the unanimous next title challenger prior to the announcement of the Grand Prix. “Super” has been a part of Bellator since 2019 and has wins over Cass Bell, Keith Lee, and most recently Magomed Magomedov last August.
Bellator 279 is set to take place at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii on April 23.