FiveOuncesOfPain.com has learned that grappling standout Diego “El Nino” Garijo has signed a contract in recent months with the Bellator Fighting Championships, an upstart MMA promotion that will begin airing on ESPN Deportes in April.
Garijo is 3-1 in four professional mixed martial arts bouts, with his most recent fight taking place on August 3, 2007. Facing Jesse Newell at Total Combat 22, Garijo lost via TKO in the second round. Prior to the loss to Newell, he had begun his career 3-0 with all of his victories coming inside the distance.
Garijo currently trains in San Diego and is based out of Saulo and Xande Ribeiro’s University of Jiu-Jitsu. A lightweight competitor, he could be involved with Bellator’s upcoming eight-man, single elimination tournament that will also feature Eddie Alvarez.
Bellator, which is Latin for Warrior, will hold eight-man tournaments at featherweight (145 pounds), welterweight (170 pounds) and middleweight (185 pounds) in addition to the aforementioned lightweight tournament. The single elimination tournaments will be televised over the course of 12 weeks on Disney-owned ESPN Deportes, a Spanish language version of ESPN.
According to press release issued last month, each tournament winner will be able to earn up to $175,000 for three wins. Fighters eliminated from tournament competition will also be well-compensated with opening round winners receiving $25,000, semi-finalists getting $50,000, and finalists netting $100,000.
In addition to Alvarez and Garijo, Bellator has also signed Lyman Good, Hector Lombard, and Jorge Masvidal. A deal with EliteXC bantamweight champion Wilson Reis could also be finalized depending on whether ProElite is acquired by another company or is forced to file for bankruptcy.