UNCASVILLE, Conn. – As November progresses, Bellator continues its stretch of weekly events with another Thursday card.

Bellator 252 takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena and is headlined by a featherweight title fight between champion Patricio Freire and challenger Pedro Carvalho. The main event doubles as a Bellator grand prix semifinal fight, with the other quarter of the bracket, Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Daniel Weichel, kicking off the main card.

Ahead of the card, Bellator president Scott Coker spoke with MMA Junkie on a number of topics, which included the featherweight grand prix’s return, Corey Anderson’s promotional debut, the light heavyweight title picture, the impending free agency of MMA legend Anderson Silva, and Aaron Pico’s career progression.

Check out Coker’s comments on various topics below:

The featherweight grand prix is back – for real this time

“I’m super excited. These fights are going to be just amazing to watch. We’ve got ‘Pitbull’ I’ve never seen the guy in a boring fight – the same thing with Carvalho. These guys are going to bring it. I think that it’s just a reflection of our quality and talent level of fighters in our 145-pound featherweight division. The Weichel-Sanchez fight is going to be unbelievable. That’s going to be another great fight. Carvalho vs. ‘Pitbull,’ that’s going to be a rock ’em, sock ’em-type fight. Then next week we’ve got the A.J. (McKee) and (Darrion Caldwell) fight, which I’m really looking forward to. The tournament is continuing.

“I’m so happy to be here. It’s been eight months we’ve been laid off for the tournament to continue. The crazy thing was eight months ago, we were here with this event. The fighters were exactly the same fighters we had here. That’s the crazy thing to me, the tournament is continuing but it’s continuing here at the Mohegan Sun in a closed environment. It gave me flashbacks to the day we had to pull the plug, right at COVID was really starting to become a reality. We made the decision on that date to pull the plug. It wasn’t an easy decision but it was the right decision.”

Corey Anderson’s Bellator 251 win over Melvin Manhoef

“Listen, I thought he did a great job. I thought he did exactly what he was supposed to do. I don’t think he’ll get the shot next, but I think maybe one more fight and we’ll put him right in there with the champ – whoever the champ is at the time. He’s somebody who adds great depth to our roster at 205. That’s why I’ve always said we have the best light heavyweight division on the planet. He’s a major part of why we can say that.”

Vadim Nemkov vs. Phil Davis is LHW fight to make

“(Phil Davis) had a great fight with (Vadim) Nemkov last time. This will be a rematch. Phil has done a great job since then. That was a close fight. I’m not sure if you recall. I think it was in Israel last year and they had a war there. Phil just came off of a great win against Machida. I think Phil should be next in line.”

Is Bellator interested in impending free agent Anderson Silva?

“I have a lot of respect for him. He’s definitely one of the greatest fighters in the history of mixed martial arts. I really haven’t thought about it, but I think I’m happy with the way our roster is heading and the fighters that we have now. I think that’s my statement on that.”

Aaron Pico’s return at Bellator 252

“Aaron is somebody we had such high hopes for, right? We signed him and made a big, big splash. He already had some boxing experience. Sometimes in life, you’ve got to take a step forward, and then you have to take a step back before you continue your journey forward. That’s what happened with Aaron. We had high hopes for him, and we still do. The kid is still a young man. I think he’s now, what, 24? We started scouting this guy right as he turned 18. We tried to sign him even before he turned 18. There was a lot of pressure on him right at the beginning. Talking to Aaron last fight, he enjoys these fights with no audience and without the (big) media presence and fanfare close to the fight. He seems like a very shy kid in a lot of different ways. I think this fits his personality better.”