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Sengoku Death Watch: Marlon Sandro Signs with Bellator

(If you thought we were going to pass up the opportunity to post a Wu Tang-infused Marlon Sandro highlight vid, well, you must be new around here. Vid: YouTube/Meyer124)

Former Sengoku featherweight champion Marlon Sandro – believed to be the second-best 145-pounder not currently under the UFC umbrella – has signed a deal with Bellator Fighting Championships and will make his American debut sometime in 2011, according to multiple internet reports out on Wednesday. Sandro’s exodus comes amid news that Sengoku is granting releases to fighters who ask for them, probably signaling that the Japanese promotion’s prolonged death spasm is nearing its end.

Sandro is currently ranked in the featherweight Top 10 on any list worth its salt. Though he lost his Sengoku title to Hatsu Hioki in late December he’ll make a stellar addition for the newly MTV-friendly Bellator. The promotion crowned Joe Warren it’s 145-pound champ after his come-from-behind victory over Joe Soto in September and you’d have to think Sandro immediately becomes No. 1 contender. Some pontificating on what it all means after the jump.

First, Sengoku is obviously headed the way of the mighty bison sooner rather than later. The company recently granted releases to middleweight champion Jorge Santiago and heavyweight prospect Dave “PeeWee” Herman, so Sandro’s defection is just another sign Sengoku isn’t making any long term plans here.

One interesting note from ESPN’s Josh Gross though: Sengoku is still holding onto its deal with Hioki, who has one fight left on his contract. The 27-year-old is currently ranked No. 2 in the world and Gross sites anonymous sources saying there’s been some mutual eye-fucking going on between Hioki and the UFC. He didn’t use those words of course, but be sure to watch that situation as it continues to develop.

Aside from being a former Sengoku champ, Sandro is the current King of Pancrase and his only two career losses (dude is 17-2) are to Hioki and a weirdo decision to Michihiro Omigawa back in 2009. That fight came in the third round of the Sengoku featherweight grand prix and two of the three judges scored it a draw. Because it was a tournament bout the judges – we like to imagine it was the “Strikeforce Tournament Committee,” even though it totally wasn’t – awarded Omigawa a 2-1 split decision.

Cagepotato Comments

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valetudorules- February 26, 2011 at 12:50 am
this guy will for sure beat the shit out of joe warren
divinryan- February 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm
Hioki v. Aldo (and Wanderlei v. Akiyama) in the UFC in December - In the City of Japan. You heard it here first.
Get Off Me- February 23, 2011 at 8:08 pm
Sandro let me down in his last fight, but he's worth another look and I think the change in promotion is a nice move.
I hope Sengoku is not trying to hold onto Hioki in hopes of trying what M-1 does with Fedor.
RaginAsian- February 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm
@Jonny5 - Mendes is in the UFC. So instead of being clever, you look like an ass. Good day sir.
agentsmith- February 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm
Beware this man's right uppercut.

Also, the bison ain't gone yet.
Jugger- February 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm
I just can't get warmed up to Joe Warren. He seems like the hard-working, never quit, boot-straps kinda fighter I would normally like... but, dude, he's so irritating for some reason.

Maybe Sandro can clean his clock. It'd be a great scrap, for sure.
RwilsonR- February 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm
There goes the last string of hope in the unraveling of Josh Barnett's career. If Japan won't pay to see MMA, he's out of a job.
Jonny5- February 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm
"Former Sengoku featherweight champion Marlon Sandro – believed to be the second-best 145-pounder not currently under the UFC umbrella" Yeah I would like to see you run that one by unbeaten Chad Mendes there CP... lulz
imabigfan- February 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm
holy standing submissions! that was awesome. bonus points for the back to back counter uppercuts. beautimus.
Fried Taco- February 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Why yes, ReX, they are:

Wanna buy my Pokemon stuff?
ReX13- February 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm
Good stuff. I cannot understand the Japanese loss of interest in MMA. Is the culture that driven by fads?
Morningwood- February 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm
that dude is a beast. standing arm triangle, nice!