The report below contains details of what happened at Bellator 258. You can watch the entire event again shortly on BBC iPlayer (UK only): here.
Sergio Pettis captured the Bellator bantamweight title in Uncasville, Connecticut to follow in brother Anthony’s footsteps by becoming an MMA world champion.
Pettis, 27, outpointed defending 135-pound champion Juan Archuleta in the main event of Bellator 258 on Friday night, earning scores of 50-45, 49-46, 49-46 to extend his unbeaten run since joining Bellator.
It meant Pettis added another world championship belt to the family collection.
His Bellator title joins the WEC and UFC lightweight titles previously won by his older brother earlier in his career.
After taking his Bellator record to 3-0, with an overall tally of 21-5, Pettis said he was confident as he awaited the scorecards following the five-round fight.
“He hit me with some good shots, but I knew my shots were hitting a little cleaner, a little bit harder. I was more calculated, calm,” he said.
“He said there was a storm coming, and there’s a heavy water tide, but I was out here, I was water tonight, man. I was flowing, and it was my night.”
Pettis said he would be prepared to face team-mate Raufeon Stots in a title defence if that is the fight Bellator mandate for him next.
He also said he would love to face Japanese star and former Bellator champion Kyoji Horiguchi for his Rizin FF title in a cross-promotional fight in a bid to emulate his brother by becoming a two-promotion world champion.
“I’d like to call out Horiguchi. I would love to represent Bellator against Rizin,” he said.
“Ant’s got two belts, and it would be a great opportunity to get my second belt, as well.”
‘Rumble’ returns with second-round knockout
In the night’s co-main event, light-heavyweight contender Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson made his long-awaited return to the cage and survived an early scare before knocking out late-notice opponent Jose Augusto to progress to the semi-finals of the Bellator light-heavyweight Grand Prix.
Former UFC contender Johnson, who was making his Bellator debut after a four-year hiatus from the sport, looked to be edging toward a first-round stoppage after Augusto appeared to break his right hand early in the fight.
But, as Johnson closed in looking for the knockout, he was badly rocked by a huge Augusto left hand that put the American in big trouble in the closing moments of the round.
But ‘Rumble’ survived and came back to knock out the Brazilian with a huge overhand right in round two to book his place in the semi-finals of the Bellator light-heavyweight grand prix, where he will face reigning champion Vadim Nemkov for the 205-pound title and a place in the tournament final.
‘MVP’ scores another stoppage win
The event also saw the return to action of England’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page, who produced a typically spectacular performance to finish American Derek Anderson in their 175-pound catchweight contest.
In a departure from the usual routine, ‘MVP’ walked out for his fight to total silence after opting to have no walkout music. But once the action got under way, his performance made all the noise as he showcased his elusive, unique fighting style to score a first-round injury TKO stoppage.
The decisive moment came one minute from the end of the first round, when Page dropped Anderson with a stunning head kick that left Anderson with a badly broken nose. The American made it to the end of the round, but the cageside doctor waved off the contest with Anderson on his stool.
Page is looking to earn a rematch with current welterweight champion Douglas Lima after the Brazilian handed him his first, and only, career loss at Bellator 221 in 2019.
Since that defeat, the 34-year-old Londoner has won five in a row, with four of those victories coming via spectacular knockout.
After his latest win, Page used his post-fight interview to call for a rematch with the 170-pound champ.
“Everybody knows what I want. There’s one redemption fight I’m looking for,” he said.
“He’s constantly got excuses for me now. I’m not interested in even calling his name, but everyone knows who he is. We will meet, and the same stuff is gonna happen.”
Queally calls for title shot
Also on the main card, Irish lightweight contender Peter Queally returned from a frustrating spell on the sidelines to announce himself as a top contender for the 155-pound title.
Dublin’s Queally, 32, defeated Brazilian contender Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire via doctor stoppage due to cuts after two well-contested rounds, then called for a shot at the Bellator lightweight title held by Freire’s brother, two-division champion Patricio as he looks to continue the ongoing rivalry between his gym, SBG, and the Pitbull Brothers team in Brazil.
“Let’s me and Patricio settle this SBG-Pitbull feud now. That’s the only way to do it,” he said.
“I think he’s going to win the (featherweight) tournament against A.J. (McKee) – good luck to him – and then he should defend his belt against me, and let’s settle this once and for all.
“He has to have respected what I did to his brother there, and he doesn’t want to fight me after that, I’m going to lose respect for him.”