Lucas Noonan, Bellator
Bellator 278 and Bellator 279 will serve as a two-night event on April 22 and April 23 with featherweight champion Cris Cyborg making her return as well as the start of the highly anticipated bantamweight grand prix.
Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis will defend his title against Raufeon Stots in an opening round matchup in the grand prix tournament while Patchy Mix takes on former champion Kyoji Horiguchi in the other featured bout at 135 pounds.
All fights in the grand prix are contested over five rounds.
The two bantamweight bouts will kick off the eight-man grand prix, which will culminate with the land man standing as the Bellator 135-pound champion as well as taking home a $1 million grand prize.
As for Cyborg, she will face off with Arlene Blencowe in a rematch as part of a double main event alongside Pettis and Stots on Bellator 279 on April 23. Cyborg previously defeated Blencowe by second-round rear naked choke in their initial meeting back in 2020.
Former Bellator flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will also make her return to action as she faces UFC veteran Justine Kish on the same card.
The fights were first announced via KHON in Hawaii on Tuesday.
Bellator 279 will have a full audience in attendance at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center with the promotion returning to Hawaii now that COVID-19 restrictions have been eased in the state. The Paramount owned company last traveled to the Aloha State in 2019.
As for Bellator 278, no fights have been announced for that card yet but the show will be exclusively available for military and first responders with no tickets on sale to the general public.