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Bellator signs Vladimir Matyushenko; debut will not be in tournament
It looks like ‘The Janitor’ has found a new place to try to clean up. Cut from the UFC earlier this year, Bellator announced today that they have signed the longtime UFC Light Heavyweight. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney was justifiably excited about the signing, noting that Matyushenko will make an excellent addition to Bellator’s already talented light heavyweight roster:
“Vladimir is a fighter I’ve watched for years. He’s an exciting fighter with an incredible wrestling background and a great pedigree in our sport. When the opportunity presented itself and we had the chance to have him join the Bellator family it was a very easy decision to make. With our Champion Attila Vegh sitting at the top of the mountain right now, and with guys like Emanuel Newton, Mikhail Zayats and King Mo coming on strong, the light heavyweight division for Bellator continues to evolve and Vladimir should fit in perfectly to that mix.”
It’s true that Bellator put forth an awesome season of fights, and their 205 lb. tournament was a big part of that. Big-name guys like King Mo and Babalu Sobral got knocked out, opening the door for Emanuel Newton to take home the title. Now Matyushenko will see how he can do against Bellator’s talent, something he has respect for:
“Bellator is one of the biggest promotions in the world, and to be associated with them is an honor. I am optimistic and excited to work with Bellator. The amount of respect and honor I felt from Bjorn and the entire Bellator team was tremendous, and getting into the Bellator cage and cementing my legacy as a Bellator World Champion is the only thing on my mind.”
While Matyushenko may have been an expendable gatekeeper in the UFC, he does have a chance to be successful inside Bellator’s cage. It was confirmed that he will make his debut in a non-tournament format. They have a lot of talent at 205, but I still think that Matyushenko has a little gas left in the tank, so it will be interesting to see how he fares against the likes of Newton, Zayats, and possibly Vegh. Will ‘The Janitor’ clean house in Bellator?