Bellator Fighting Championships has big plans for 2011, and beyond their deal to be broadcast on the FX network, the promotion has laid the work to have their first ever light heavyweight tournament. The first person to be confirmed for the season 4 205lb tournament is Daniel Gracie, who signed on with Bellator and will now debut in Feb 2011.
According to Gracie’s manager Ali Abdel-Aziz from Dominance MMA, after a long layoff, he is ready to get back into active competition and what better way than with a tournament that has potential for him to fight every month.
“Daniel is older, he wants to fight now every month, and this is a good opportunity for him to fight in the tournament. I’m very confident and I think Daniel will have the opportunity to win the tournament,” said Abdel-Aziz on Sunday.
“Daniel took almost 4 years off and now he wants to fight every month, and Bellator offered us the opportunity for him to fight, and I think it’s going to have a very, very good outcome.”
Following his lengthy layoff, Gracie came back last month and fought in Israel Fighting Championships where he defeated Martin Wojcik by rear naked choke in the first round. Gracie will be training alongside family members at the Renzo Gracie Academy in Manhattan to prepare for his upcoming Bellator stint.
Gracie’s debut with the organization will come against Tim Carpenter in February. Carpenter is 6-0 as a pro, and actually picked up a split decision win over Gracie’s teammate Jamal Patterson in October while in Bellator also.
Abdel-Aziz also confirmed that top UFC light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans will be traveling to New York City for the month of January to help Gracie, while he also prepares for his own fight in 2011 against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Several other fighters and trainers will help Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt as he looks to bring back another tournament title to the legendary Gracie family.
There have been no other names confirmed for the Bellator light heavyweight tournament, but if there is a Feb launch date look for more names to be confirmed in the coming weeks.