Bellator’s return to Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. on Saturday, May 11 is stacked with a must-see lineup of fights, headlined by current lightweight titleholder Michael Chandler (19-4) in his attempt to become the only man to defeat both Pitbull Brothers and put an end to their years-long rivalry, when he defends his belt against Bellator’s 145-pound champ Patricio “Pitbull” (28-4) in the main event of Bellator 221 – which will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
The co-headliner will see former two-time Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima (30-7) face undefeated Michael “Venom” Page (14-0), better known to fans as “MVP,” in the first semi-final matchup in Bellator’s Welterweight World Grand Prix. Each fighter has their eyes set on moving one step closer to becoming Bellator welterweight champ and taking home one million dollars.
In addition, arguably one of the world’s top featherweight prospects A.J. McKee (13-0) will face the stiffest test of his young career when he fights two-time former Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran (23-7) on Curran’s home turf. Finally, former WWE champion Jake Hager (1-0) returns to the Bellator cage for the first time since his first-round submission victory in January looking to continue his early dominance inside the cage.
An exclusive online presale for Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull takes place between Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. CT and Thursday, Feb. 21 at 10 p.m. CT, with tickets going on-sale to the general public on Friday, Feb. 22 at 12 p.m. CT. Tickets for the event will be available at the Allstate Arena box office, as well as Ticketmaster.com and Bellator.com.
Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull will be broadcast live on DAZN at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and globally on the Bellator Mobile App. Additional bouts will be announced in coming weeks.
One of the most-decorated fighters in Bellator history, Michael Chandler reclaimed the lightweight championship this past December to become a three-time titleholder. “Iron” has defeated a who’s who among the division’s elite, including Brent Primus, Benson Henderson, Patricky Pitbull (x2), Goiti Yamauchi and Eddie Alvarez. The former University of Missouri wrestler from High Ridge, Mo., who now calls Nashville home, has had a slow-building feud with his May 11 opponent, verbally sparring with his foe following wins over Patricio’s brother Patricky and on social media. Now, the time for talk is over and both will enter the Bellator cage to finally settle the score.
Hailing from Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, two-time featherweight champ Patricio “Pitbull” will enter the Bellator cage for a promotional record 21th time. With impressive wins to his name over Daniel Straus (x3), Daniel Weichel (x2) and Pat Curran, he most recently defeated Emmanuel Sanchez via unanimous decision at Bellator 209. Moving up a weight class for the first time since Bellator 160 when he met Benson Henderson, “Pitbull” is planning to leave his mark in a new division and go down as one of the all-time greats. Having earned a finish in 20 of his 28 wins as a professional, the reigning champion has become synonymous with excitement and fans can certainly expect more fireworks when looks to become a simultaneous two-division champion on May 11.
Fighting out of Atlanta, Ga., by way of Goiania, Brazil, Douglas “The Phenom” Lima has been a mainstay at the top of the 170-pound division for the better part of three years. With wins against the likes of Lorenz Larkin, Andrey Koreshkov (x2), Paul Daley and Ben Saunders, the 31-year-old advanced to the semifinals of the Welterweight World Grand Prix after a technical submission win against Koreshkov. A winner of nine out of his last 11 contests, the American Top Team product remains set on showing the world how dominant he truly is.
One of the most unorthodox strikers to ever compete, “MVP” has steadily worked his way up the welterweight ranks since signing with the organization in 2013. Known for his unique style and personality both inside the cage and out, every Michael Page fight is must-see entertainment. With an undefeated record of 14-0, and 11 of those victories coming by stoppage, the 31-year-old out of London Shootfighters advanced to the semifinals following a closely contested unanimous decision win against rival Paul Daley at Bellator 216.
Fighting out of Long Beach, Calif., A.J. McKee puts his undefeated record on the line against the former champ on May 11. Currently training alongside the likes of Aaron Pico, “Baby Slice” and Joey Davis at The Body Shop under the tutelage of his father, MMA veteran Antonio McKee, the second-generation fighter has been making quite the name for himself since joining the professional ranks. At just 23 years of age, “Mercenary” has set the Bellator record for consecutive wins at 13, having defeated Daniel Crawford, Brian Moore, John “Macapa, Justin Lawrence and Dominic Mazzotta along the way. Known for his highlight-reel finishes, McKee will look to remain unbeaten and keep his name etched in the record books when he meets Curran at Bellator 221. A former two-time Bellator world featherweight champion, Pat Curran returns to the cage near his hometown looking to earn another shot at gold. Fighting out of Crystal Lake, Ill., “Paddy Mike” is in the midst of a three-fight win streak that includes victories over Emmanuel Sanchez, John “Macapa” and Georgi Karakhanyan. The longtime Bellator veteran, who debuted at Bellator 14 in 2010, owns additional wins over Patricio “Pitbull,” Joe Warren, Roger Huerta and Daniel Straus. Also, a two-time Bellator tournament winner, the 31-year-old’s return to the top of the 145-pound division begins with a tough test against McKee.
A native of Perry, Okla., Hager emphatically showed the world that he belongs in the sport of MMA with a submission win over J.W. Kizer at Bellator 214 in January. A collegiate wrestler at the University of Oklahoma, where he was an All-American and set the school record for most pins at the 285-pound weight class in a single season with 30. Following graduation and a conversation with legendary pro wrestling announcer and fellow Oklahoma Sooner, Jim Ross, Hager made the transition to professional wrestling and signed with World Wrestling Entertainment. While in WWE, Hager would go on to claim multiple coveted professional titles during his time with the organization, including the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, ECW Championship and WWE United States Championship. Now, the man also known to fans around the globe as “Jack Swagger” will return to action MMA action in Chicago against a soon-to-be-announced heavyweight opponent.
Updated Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull Card:
Lightweight World Title Bout: Michael Chandler (19-4) vs. Patricio “Pitbull” (28-4)
Welterweight World Grand Prix Semi-final: Douglas Lima (30-7) vs. Michael “Venom” Page (14-0)
Featherweight Main Card Bout: A.J. McKee (13-0) vs. Pat Curran (23-7)
Heavyweight Main Card Bout: Jake Hager (1-0) vs. TBA