Former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell will return to the weight class next month after a three-fight stint at featherweight.
Caldwell (14-4 MMA, 11-3 BMMA) is set to take on Leandro Higo (20-5 MMA, 3-3 BMMA) in a rematch at Bellator 259. MMA Junkie confirmed the booking with a Bellator official following an initial report from MMAFighting.com.
Bellator 259 takes place May 21 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.
Caldwell won the bantamweight title at Bellator 184 in 2017 with a decision over Eduardo Dantas. In his first title defense, he took on Higo at Bellator 195 and submitted him with a guillotine choke midway through the first round.
After a one-off featherweight win over Noad Lahat, he challenged Kyoji Horiguchi for RIZIN’s 135-pound title and was submitted in the third round. In June 2019, Horiguchi slid over to Bellator to fight Caldwell for his belt and took it from him in their rematch.
Later that year, Caldwell found himself back at 145 pounds for Bellator’s tournament. He beat Henry Corrales in the opening round, then Adam Borics in the quarterfinals. But in the semifinals, he was tapped out by A.J. McKee this past November with one of the year’s most talked-about submissions.
After Higo’s loss to Caldwell in March 2018, he was stopped by Aaron Pico with a first-round TKO. But after a year off, he bounced back with a submission over Shawn Bunch in 2019 and one over Ricky Bandejas this past October for his second straight win.
With the addition, the Bellator 259 lineup now includes:
- Champ Cris Cyborg vs. Leslie Smith – for women’s featherweight title
- Fabian Edwards vs. Austin Vanderford
- Brett Johns vs. Matheus Mattos
- Hannah Guy vs. Valerie Loureda
- Alfie Davis vs. Alexander Shabliy
- Tyree Fortune vs. Grant Neal
- Christian Edwards vs. Ben Parrish
- Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Adam Piccolotti
- Nate Andrews vs. Saad Awad
- Sean Felton vs. Aviv Gozali
- Janay Harding vs. Leah McCourt
- Darrion Caldwell vs. Leandro Higo