Bellator today officially announced that it has signed lightweight UFC veteran Roger Huerta, who will compete in the promotion’s upcoming 155-pound tournament and debut at Bellator’s season two premiere on April 8 in Hollywood, Florida at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The terms of the deal, which was first reported on Saturday, were not announced during a Monday press conference. Huerta’s first opponent has yet to be determined, pending the final addition to the season two tournament’s roster, but is expected to be announced soon.
Huerta (21-3-1) emerged as a lightweight contender with six-straight UFC victories over the likes of Leonard Garcia and Clay Guida, but after dropping a decision to Kenny Florian in August 2008, “El Matador” declined a new contract with the UFC and took a break from fighting to pursue an acting career. He returned to action in September, completing his UFC contract with a split decision loss to Gray Maynard.
The back-to-back losses snapped Huerta’s 16-fight win streak.
Huerta, who was notably the first mixed martial artist to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2007, was also in talks with Strikeforce before signing with Bellator, where he joins Toby Imada, Carey Vanier, Ferrid Kheder, Mike Ricci, Janne Tulirinta and Chad Hinton in the lightweight tourney, which airs live on Fox Sports Net.
The winner of the tournament is then expected to face champion Eddie Alvarez, who won the promotion’s first lightweight tournament in 2009, during Bellator’s third season later this year.