Former Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell expects Sergio Pettis to still have the belt at the end of the upcoming Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix.

Caldwell is set to face Enrique Barzola at Bellator 273 to begin his 2022 calendar year. He’s coming off of a tough loss to Leandro Higo at Bellator 259 last year by a split decision.

Caldwell is looking to get back in the thick of things in the bantamweight division, but he’ll have to wait after he wasn’t selected for the upcoming Grand Prix. The tournament will begin later this year and feature big names such as Pettis, Kyoji Horiguchi, Patchy Mix, James Gallagher, and Raufeon Stots.

Caldwell, a former champion, is still going to pay attention to the tournament despite not being selected for it. During an exclusive interview with LowKickMMA, Caldwell explained why he thinks Pettis will come out on top in the Grand Prix.

“I think the champ is gonna stay the champ,” Caldwell said. “That fight with Horiguchi, I felt like Horiguchi was winning the fight. But Pettis’ timing was good from Round 1 on. And he stayed in it. I think Pettis is going to win the tournament unless I get a shot. He’s a hard puzzle. It’s like a 1000 piece puzzle that Pettis had to deal with Horiguchi.”

Darrion Caldwell Is Hoping To Get His Bellator Belt Back

Caldwell earned the Bellator title back in 2017 against Eduardo Dantas. He would go on to successfully defend it against Higo before eventually losing it to Horiguchi.

Caldwell then moved up to 145 pounds to enter the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix, eventually losing to AJ McKee. He also told LowKickMMA that he isn’t ruling out a move back to featherweight in the future.

Caldwell has always been one of the biggest names in the promotion, and he’s looking to prove in 2022 that he’s still a legitimate contender at 135 pounds. It’ll all begin at Bellator 273 against a tough prospect in Barzola.

What is your prediction for the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix?