The Bellator Fighting Championships has announced the addition of five more fighters to its charter roster. The promotion, which is slated to debut on ESPN Deportes in early April, has revealed that lightweight Daniel Moralez, welterweights Omar De La Cruz and Jorge Ortiz, and featherweights Estevan Payan and Luis Palomino.
Morales is a former Cage of Fire lightweight champion and has accumulated a 5-1 record since turning pro in 2006. He is slated to be a part of Bellator’s eight-man lightweight tournament field that includes Eddie Alvarez, Jorge Masvidal, Thomas Schulte, Toby Imada, and Diego Garijo.
De La Cruz is both a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Doe while also holding a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Holding a 3-1 record after just four fights, he is a full-time medical student at Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo. According to a press release issued by Bellator, De La Cruz is often recognized as the Dominican Republic’s top MMA fighter and is known for his powerful kicks.
After amassing a 15-4 record in international competition as both a light heavyweight and middleweight, Ortiz is dropping to welterweight for Bellator. The Mexican fighter has finished 12 of his 15 wins by either TKO or submission.
De La Cruz and Ortiz will join a 170 pound Bellator welterweight tournament that is also expected to include Lyman Good.
A Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Military, Payan is 6-1 and also the reigning Rage in the Cage welterweight champion. Training full-time out of Arizona Combat Sports, he will be moving to featherweight for Bellator.
The current USFL lightweight champion, Palomino trains under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Considered to have heavy hands when he competed as a welterweight, the Peru native is now slated to compete at 145 pounds.
Both Payan and Palomino will be a part of an eight-man featherweight tournament that will include former EliteXC bantamweight champion Wilson Reis, Nick Gonzalez, Yahir Reyes, and Ben Greer.
Bellator Fighting Championships’ inaugural season will consist of 12 two-hour events to be broadcast weekly in prime time on Saturday nights on ESPN Deportes. Tentatively scheduled to launch on April 4, the televised events will feature a combination of tournament and non-tournament special feature bouts. There will be four simultaneous tournaments taking place in the first season over a three month period taking place in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, and middleweight divisions.