16 Oct [MMA] 
Bellator featherweight grand prix to resume with Freire-Carvalho, Caldwell-McKee headliners

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The Bellator featherweight grand prix finally is set to resume.

In addition, the previously reported featherweight title fight between champion Patricio Freire and challenger Pedro Carvalho, and the other remaining quarterfinal matchup between Emmanuel Sanchez and Daniel Weichel ,will take place at Bellator 252 on Nov. 12.

The promotion also will hold an event on Nov. 19, Bellator 253, which will be headlined by a semifinal fight between A.J. McKee and Darrion Caldwell.

MMA Junkie confirmed the events and bookings with a promotion official after a report from CBS Sports on Thursday.

Both shows will take place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., as part of a four-show, four-week stretch.

The tournament has been paused since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing Bellator to cancel its remaining two quarterfinal fights the day of the scheduled event. The tournament’s restart has been delayed ever since due to three of four fighters being international and travel restrictions an issue.

Freire (30-4 MMA, 11-3 BMMA) entered the tournament as champion and successfully defended his belt against now-Bellator bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta. Carvalho (11-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) defeated Sam Sicilia in his opening round fight.

Weichel (40-11 MMA, 9-3 BMMA) submitted Saul Rogers and Sanchez (19-4 MMA, 11-3 BMMA) submitted Tywan Claxton. The winners of Freire-Carvalho and Weichel-Sanchez will square off an event and date to be announced.

As for Caldwell (15-3 MMA, 12-2 BMMA) and McKee (16-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA), who are positioned on the other side of the bracket, both men have already fought – and won – twice in the tournament. In the opening round, McKee defeated Georgi Karakhanyan by eight-second knockout, then submitted Derek Campos in the semifinals.

Caldwell, the former Bellator bantamweight champion first defeated Henry Corrales via unanimous decision before submitting Adam Borics in Round 1 in January.