Malegarie (19-0) initially began his training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at just 12-years-old before ultimately becoming a Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Champion. With a series of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships under his belt, “Naza” began his MMA training with UFC veteran Thiago Tavares and through the training was inspired to make MMA a profession. Having already established a reputation as one of the most dangerous and promising featherweights in Brazil with 17 finishes in his 19 victories as a professional, Malegarie is eager to prove himself to fans in the United States.
“I’m just very excited to finally have the chance to show fans in the United States what I’m capable of,” said Malegarie. “Signing with Bellator was very important for me, and I’m ready to prove myself.”
Freire (14-1) is a seasoned veteran of the Bellator tournament format. He made it all the way to the final bout of the Season 2 featherweight tournament before losing a split decision to current Bellator 145-pound champion Joe Warren.
“I have no interest besides fighting as a professional,” said Freire. “It’s the only thing I really want to do. Every day in my life I am looking to overcome myself and evolve into a better fighter. I never believe that I am good enough. It’s all about improvement, every single day.”
The two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts join the previously announced Wilson Reis, Daniel Straus, Georgi Karakhanyan, Zac George, Kenny Foster, and Eric Larkin as part of the tournament, which will air on MTV2 beginning in March.