by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Like many other promotions, ESPN is heading to Chicago to host one of the initial offerings of its Bellator FC series to air on its affiliate Spanish-speaking station, ESPN Deportes.

One of the fighters Bellator hopes will help make its excursion to Chicago on May 15 a success is former “Ultimate Fighter 5” cast member Noah “The Red” Thomas.

It’s an opportunity that Thomas has been looking for since making his return to MMA last year after injuries cost him a year-and-a-half of action.

“My manager decided it would be a good move for us,” he told MMAWeeklty.com of joining Bellator. “We’re taking that step; getting me on some bigger shows against bigger name opponents.”

As it stands, Thomas’ deal with Bellator is limited to one fight, but he is confident he can extend that.

“Hopefully once they see me fight, they’ll want me back, because I come out strong and finish strong,” he stated.

It is currently unknown if Thomas’ fight with former Greg Jackson-trained fighter Eric Buck will be on the Bellator broadcast scheduled for Saturday, May 16. Again, Thomas feels the action provided in the fight will lead to the television exposure he is looking for.

“I’m going in there to make sure it is on TV,” he exclaimed. “The way you do that is be exciting – Buck’s an exciting fighter and so am I.

“We both like to push the pace and finish fights. We’re both going to swing for the fences, work our Gracie Jiu-Jitsu games and try to finish the fight.”

Should Bellator be successful on ESPN Deportes, the 135-pound division could be rewarded with a tournament in a subsequent season, making Thomas’ signing that much more important if he performs well and wins.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the fans there,” he concluded. “Thanks to my gym Infinite Mixed Martial Arts Academy and my sponsors: Tapout, Jitz, Stroker Industries and PerformanceMMA.com.”

“I’d also like to wish my teammate Kate Martinez luck in her upcoming fight in Japan.”