Bellator MMA has announced additional information on its return to the Hawaiian island of Oahu, where Honolulu's Neal S. Blaisdell Arena will play home to a pair of events on back-to-back nights Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23. Bellator 278 is headlined by a women's flyweight world championship main event pitting undefeated Juliana Velasquez (12-0 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) against former U.S. Marine and No. 2-ranked flyweight Liz Carmouche (16-7 MMA, 3-0 BMMA).
Friday night's Bellator 278 card is being held in honor of America's military, veterans, first-responders and medical personnel, all of whom are eligible to attend the event with a guest for free entry the day of with valid proof of ID. Free admission is based on a limited capacity and available on first come-first serve basis.
In addition, a pair of "wild card" matchups will be held, with the winner of each 135-pound contest officially punching their ticket into the $1 million Bellator bantamweight world grand prix.
The first "wild card" fight features No. 8-ranked Josh Hill (21-4 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) facing Enrique Barzola (17-5-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) with the winner moving on to meet Magomed Magomedov in the quarterfinals. The second "wild card" contest will see No. 9 Jornel Lugo (8-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) take on Danny Sabatello (11-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) with the victor going on to face Leandro Higo. Dates for both pending quarterfinal matchups will be announced shortly.
The main card of Friday's Bellator 278 event also features two additional marquee main card bouts, a light heavyweight pairing pitting Christian Edwards (5-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) versus Grant Neal (6-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA), as well as a 160-pound contract weight scrap between Manny Muro (12-7 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) and Nate Andrews (16-4 MMA, 0-1 BMMA).
In the United States Showtime will televise Friday night's "Bellator 278: Velasquez vs. Carmouche" main card at 10 p.m. ET, while the preliminary fights will stream live on the Bellator MMA YouTube channel, Showtime Sports YouTube channel and Pluto TV beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The complete bout listing for the event can be found below.
Saturday night's Bellator 279 will feature a women's featherweight world championship rematch pitting Cris Cyborg (25-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) against Australia's No. 1-ranked Arlene Blencowe (15-8 MMA, 8-4 BMMA), who will look to claim gold in her third attempt at a world title, and the launch of the highly anticipated $1 million Bellator bantamweight world grand prix. Former champion, No. 1-ranked Juan Archuleta (25-3 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) will challenge No. 3-ranked Raufeon Stots (17-1 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) for the interim bantamweight title, following the news that incumbent champion Sergio Pettis is on the shelf with an injury.
Also, at Bellator 279 on Saturday, No. 2-ranked Patchy Mix (15-1 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) takes on No. 5-ranked Kyoji Horiguchi (29-4 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) in a five-round Bellator world grand prix contest and Oahu's own No. 1-ranked Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-1 MMA, 10-1 BMMA) returns home to fight Justine Kish (7-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) at flyweight.
In the United States, Showtime will televise Saturday night's "Bellator 279: Cyborg vs. Blencowe 2" main card at 10:30 p.m. ET, while the preliminary fights will stream live on the Bellator MMA YouTube channel, Showtime Sports YouTube channel and Pluto TV beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The most up-to-date bout listing for the event can be found below.
Bellator 278, MAIN CARD (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET)
- Champion Juliana Velasquez vs. Liz Carmouche – for women's flyweight title
- Josh Hill vs. Enrique Barzola – bantamweight grand prix wild card bout
- Jornel Lugo vs. Danny Sabatello – bantamweight grand prix wild card bout
- Christian Edwards vs. Grant Neal
- Manny Muro vs. Nate Andrews
Bellator 278, PRELIMINARY CARD (YouTube, 8 p.m. ET)
- Weber Almeida vs. Fabricio Franco
- Jared Scoggins vs. Cee Jay Hamilton
- Makoa Cooper vs. Blake Perry
Bellator 279, MAIN CARD (Showtime, 10:30 p.m. ET)
- Champion Cris Cyborg vs. Arlene Blencowe – for women's featherweight title
- Juan Archuleta vs. Raufeon Stots – for interim bantamweight title
- Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Justine Kish
- Patchy Mix vs. Kyoji Horiguchi – bantamweight gran prix opening round
Bellator 279, PRELIMINARY CARD (YouTube, 8 p.m. ET)
- Lance Gibson Jr. vs. Nainoa Dung
- Justin Gonzalez vs. Kai Kamaka III
- Goiti Yamauchi vs. Levan Chokheli
- Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Yancy Medeiros
- Keoni Diggs vs. Bobby King
- Randi Field vs. Maraya Miller