(Hey, if BJ Penn can be the UFC’s first three-title champion, then a middle-aged kickboxer can be the future of the heavyweight division. / Photo via crucifixusa.com)
By Adam Martin
Bellator’s ninth season recently commenced, and if last week’s opener is any indication, it’s going to be a fun and action-packed couple of months in the world of “Viacom MMA.”
During the summer, Bellator signed a number of new fighters that will make their promotional debuts during season nine, and we wanted to highlight a few of these hungry young prospects that fans should keep an eye on starting with tonight’s event in Temecula, California.
So, without further ado, here are nine Bellator prospects to watch out for during this coming season of fights.
9. John Alessio
(Photo via Getty)
The first fighter to keep an eye on this season is veteran John Alessio, who has been fighting professionally since 1998. After making his name as a top prospect fighting for SuperBrawl in Hawaii, the UFC fed Alessio to the sharks when, at just 20 years of age, he fought Pat Miletich for the UFC welterweight title. And while Alessio would get tapped out in just 1:43 and leave the UFC immediately afterwards, he returned in 2006 and fought both Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves, losing to both and losing his spot on the roster again. Never perturbed, Alessio then carved out a solid run in the WEC, MFC, Dream, and a few other promotions to get yet another crack in the Octagon in 2012, but after losing to Mark Bocek and Shane Roller — becoming the only fighter in UFC history to go 0-5 — he was cut for good. Bellator then picked him up and he’s been installed as a participant in the season nine lightweight tournament. Winning it, he says, is his destiny.