The Bellator bantamweight championship will be up for grabs Friday, March 2 when Darrion Caldwell (11-1) makes his first title defense against Leandro Higo (18-3) at Bellator 195 inside WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., the same venue where “The Wolf” captured the belt earlier this year.
“Darrion Caldwell is an exciting young fighter that has worked his way to the top of a very competitive bantamweight division to become a world champion,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “I’m excited to see what he can do in his first title defense against Leandro Higo, who is an incredibly tough competitor with the ability to submit his opponent at any time. The fans are in for a great matchup between these two grapplers.”
The event will be broadcast live and free on Paramount Network at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and globally on the Bellator Mobile App. Tickets for Bellator 195: Caldwell vs. Higo go on sale this Friday, Dec. 22 at 10 a.m. CT and can be purchased at the WinStar World Casino and Resort box office, as well as through Ticketmaster and Bellator.com. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.
(Paramount Network is the rebranding of Spike, which launches at the beginning of 2018.)
Caldwell has been on a steady ascension to championship status since signing with Bellator in 2014. Ahead of his championship victory over Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 184, which brought his Bellator record to 8-1, the 30-year-old collected five wins by way of first-round knockout or submission. The run was highlighted by a remarkable stoppage of former multi-division champion Joe Warren. Hailing from Rahway, N.J. and training alongside Bellator standouts Phil Davis and Justin Lawrence at Alliance MMA in San Diego, Calif., “The Wolf” also serves as one of the main sparring partners of former UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz.
Higo signed with Bellator in February riding an eight-fight win-streak and earned the Legacy Fighting Alliance 135-pound crown in the process. Fresh off an impressive win against Joe Taimanglo, the 28-year-old Pitbull Brothers product also competed on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4 in 2015. A proud carrier of the Olympic torch ahead of the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil, “Pitbull” will now set his sights on carrying the torch in Bellator’s bantamweight division.
Bellator 195: Caldwell vs. Higo Fight Card:
- Bantamweight World Title Main Event: Darrion Caldwell (11-1) vs. Leandro Higo (18-3)