Although it hasn’t been formalized by the promotion, new Bellator champion Juan Archuleta on Thursday said his first title defense is set.
Archuleta (25-2 MMA, 7-1 BMMA), while a guest on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” said he’ll fight Sergio Pettis (20-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) as the first defense of his bantamweight title at Bellator’s first card after the start of the new year. The matchup is one that has been presumed by many, including the two fighters, but not made official by Bellator.
“Our next fight, we’re shooting for the first (card) of the year – the first card back (in 2021) against Sergio Pettis,” Archuleta said on the show. “That’s the fight I originally wanted for the belt.”
Instead, Archuleta took the vacant 135-pound title with a unanimous decision over Patchy Mix at Bellator 246 in September. Now that he has the title, it’s presumed Pettis is at the top of the pack of challengers.
Pettis came to Bellator at the start of 2020 after a lengthy run in the UFC that saw him go 9-5 as both a flyweight and bantamweight. In Bellator, Pettis has a submission of Alfred Khashakyan in January and a unanimous decision over Ricky Bandejas at Bellator 242 in July.
While also showing off his still-new hardware to the hosts, Archuleta also talked about how he contracted COVID-19 in July, weeks before his fight with Mix, as well as what he loves to eat when he’s not in camp.
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This was originally published on www.mmajunkie.com