Despite being one of many fighters released from the UFC in February, forty-two year old Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko won’t be hanging up his gloves just yet. Earlier today, Bellator announced that they have signed the former IFL champion to compete at a future event. While it was announced that Matyushenko will be making his promotional debut in a non-tournament bout, neither a date for the fight nor a prospective opponent have been named yet.
In a news release posted on Bellator’s website, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney appeared very optimistic about the signing. “Vladimir is a fighter I’ve watched for years. He’s an exciting fighter with an incredible wrestling background and a great pedigree in our sport. When the opportunity presented itself and we had the chance to have him join the Bellator family it was a very easy decision to make,” he said.
“With our Champion Attila Vegh sitting at the top of the mountain right now, and with guys like Emanuel Newton, Mikhail Zayats and King Mo coming on strong, the light heavyweight division for Bellator continues to evolve and Vladimir should fit in perfectly to that mix.”
Of course, Matyushenko also joins the ranks of fellow UFC washouts Seth Petruzelli and Renato “Babalu” Sobral, but let’s not talk about that right now.
Matyushenko may bring an impressive resume into his Bellator tenure, but how much of an impact can he actually make on the promotion? Bellator’s light-heavyweight division is extremely competitive, and the tournament format won’t exactly be an advantage for an aging fighter. Will “The Janitor” put together one last title run in Bellator, or will he be an also-ran in the promotion’s surprisingly deep light-heavyweight division?