Bellator Fighting Championships Signs Roger HuertaOne of MMA’s most coveted free agents has found a new home in Bellator Fighting Championships. Former UFC standout Roger “El Matador” Huerta has signed with the promotion and will compete in the eight-man Bellator Lightweight Tournament later this year.

Huerta turned down an offer to return to the UFC and opted to sign with Bellator due to the possibility of competing as many as four times for the promotion in 2010. Huerta won five times in UFC competition in 2007 and later appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Huerta (20-3-1, 1 NC) reigned undefeated for over four years from 2004 to 2008 and picked up notable UFC victories over current WEC contender Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia and former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Clay “The Carpenter” Guida during that time. He was defeated by former two-time UFC title challenger Kenny “KenFlo” Florian at UFC 87 and took a year off to pursue an acting career before returning to MMA last September. Huerta’s final appearance for the UFC saw him lose a close decision to Gray “The Bully” Maynard at UFC Fight Night 19.

The signing of Huerta is a major one for the growing Bellator promotion, which has a significant following in Mexico and the southern United States. Huerta, of Salvadorian and Mexican descent, was valued during his time in the UFC for his soaring popularity among the Hispanic community and this was reportedly a key factor in his deal with Bellator. Huerta has been training diligently to improve his striking and the proven finisher, who has stopped 15 of his opponents to date, will undoubtedly be one of the top stars in the Bellator ranks.

Huerta is set to debut for Bellator in the first round of this year’s lightweight tournament, which begins on April 8th at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.


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