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Patricio Freire vs. Juan Archuleta title fight in Featherweight Grand Prix and Lyoto Machida-Gegard Mousasi rematch set for Bellator 228

Sporting News — (Steven Muehlhausen)

Bellator officials announced on Thursday afternoon that Bellator 228 will take place on Saturday, Sept. 28 from The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., live and exclusively on DAZN. And the event is already shaping up nicely with two significant bouts.

The main event features the opening round of the Featherweight Grand Prix, as 145-pound champion Patricio "Pitbull" Freire puts his title on the line against Juan Archuleta. In the co-main event, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida rematches former Bellator 185-pound titleholder Gegard Mousasi in a middleweight affair.

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Freire (29-4) made history at Bellator 221 in May when he stopped Michael Chandler in 61 seconds to add the lightweight title to his collection. The Brazilian comes in on a four-fight winning streak, a victor in eight of his last ten and looks to defend his belt for the third time.

Archuleta (23-1) is on a tear, winning 18 consecutive fights, including five since he joined Bellator in March 2018. Most recently, "The Spaniard" viciously knocked out former bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas in the second round at Bellator 222. 

The 16-man Featherweight Grand Prix begins at Bellator 226 on September 7th, but Freire vs. Archuleta is the first confirmed matchup. This is the third tournament the promotion has done. The Heavyweight Grand Prix was won by Ryan Bader, and the welterweight tourney is still ongoing with champion Rory MacDonald and Douglas Lima squaring off in the finals later on in 2019.

Machida (26-8) and Mousasi (45-7-2) first met at UFC Fight Night 36 in February 2014 with the former winning by unanimous decision. Ever since then, Mousasi has accused Machida of being on performing-enhancing drugs.

The sentiment among pundits was that Machida and Mousasi would battle for middleweight gold. "The Dragon", who looks to extend his win streak to five, held up his end of the bargain, stopping Chael Sonnen in the second round at Bellator 222 and sent him into retirement. Mousasi failed on his end, losing his title in a narrow decision to  Rafael Lovato Jr. at Bellator 223. The winner is expected to challenge Lovato next as Machida, and Mousasi are the two biggest names in the 185-pound division.