The first bout of Bellator MMA’s featherweight grand prix is set, as Patricio Freire will defend his 145-pound title against Juan Archuleta on Sept. 28.
Sherdog.com confirmed the pairing with a promotion official following an initial report from ESPN.com. Freire vs. Archuleta will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. All told, eight first-round featherweight matchups are expected to take place this fall.
Freire enters the bout on a four-fight winning streak. In his last outing, the 32-year-old captured the lightweight crown with a first-round technical knockout of Michael Chandler at Bellator 221.
Archuleta has kicked off his professional tenure with victories in 23 of his first 24 fights, a stretch that includes five triumphs under the Bellator banner. The 31-year-old is coming off a second-round knockout win against ex-bantamweight king Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 222.