One of Japan’s most notable promotions, Sengoku, is currently in a state of flux, and according to ESPN journalist Josh Gross, if fighters request a release from their contract, then it is being granted.
Two of the promotion’s major stars appear to have taken them up on that offer. Firstly their middleweight champion Jorge Santiago has now officially signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC.
Santiago previously fought for the promotion back in 2006, recording a 1-2 record before being released. Since then he has been in rare form, winning 11 of his last 12 fights, producing a number of highly entertaining performances along the way.
“I had a great experience in Japan, but I am now really excited to fight again in the UFC and conquer more fighters in the U.S.,” Santiago said in a press release to announce his signing.
Santiago is now expected to face Brian Stann at UFC 130 in May.
Meanwhile Bellator Fighting Championships are currently preparing for their fourth season which airs on MTV 2, and today they’ve announced a major signing in Sengoku’s former featherweight champ Marlon Sandro.
The Brazilian, who holds a pro-record of 17-2 is considered one of the top 10 featherweights in the world. He will not be fighting in tournament bouts during Bellator’s upcoming season however, but he will be available for individual match-ups.
It’s almost certain that more fighters from Sengoku will now follow suit. The last man to beat Sandro, current featherweight champion Hatsu Hioki (23-4-2), in particular could soon make a move to fighting in the U.S, and it’s believed he could be a target for the UFC, though Bellator may also be interested in the 145lb star.