Marlon Sandro Signs With Bellator Fighting ChampionshipsFormer Sengoku Raiden Championship Featherweight Champion Marlon Sandro is the latest fighter to leave the embattled promotion. The reigning Featherweight King of Pancrase has signed a deal with Bellator Fighting Championships to compete in the promotion’s upcoming fourth season.

Bellator officials announced the acquisition earlier today. Sandro will join the developing featherweight division, though he will not be part of the upcoming 145-pound tournament. SRC Middleweight Champion Jorge Santiago also recently left Sengoku, and signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Sandro (17-2-0) won his first 11 bouts and faced Masaya Takita for the Featherweight King of Pancrase title on October 26, 2008. Sandro captured the belt with a Unanimous Decision victory, but developed a reputation as a fighter who struggled to finish fights and was content with decisions. That all changed when he signed with Sengoku and made his promotional debut at “Seventh Battle” on March 20, 2009. Sandro choked out Matt Jaggers with a standing arm-triangle choke and knocked out Nick Denis less than two months later.

Controversy surrounded Sandro’s third bout in Sengoku, as he suffered a razor-thin and controversial Split Decision loss to Michihiro Omigawa. The crushing defeat only served to motivate Sandro, as he bounced back with three straight knockout victories; the longest of which lasted a mere 2:33. With a single devastating uppercut, Sandro knocked out Masanori Kanehara to become SRC Featherweight Champion in June, but he was unable to successfully defend his new title and was soundly beaten by Hatsu Hioki last December.

Now looking for a new start, the former #2-ranked featherweight in the world has officially signed with Bellator and is expected to debut for the promotion in the coming months. He is one of a number of fighters who have recently requested and received releases from Sengoku, as the promotion remains surrounded by questions about its stability and future.



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