Bellator is looking to shake things up in 2022 and announced two big acquisitions for the new year. First reported by Ariel Helwani, RIZIN standout Tofiq Musayev has signed a deal to join Bellator’s lightweight division.
Hailing from Azerbaijan, Musayev (18-4) last fought at RIZIN 28 in June for the promotion’s vacant lightweight title. Musayev came up short in his title bid, but prior to the bout, he had won 14 straight. Five of those 14 were under the RIZIN banner where he defeated Daron Cruickshank, Damien Brown, and Johnny Case.
The biggest name on Musayev’s hit-list is none other than Bellator lightweight champion Patricky Pitbull. Musayev defeated the elder Pitbull brother in the finals of RIZIN’s lightweight tournament in 2019. He is expected to dive right into the deep end of Bellator’s lightweight division in 2022.
Joining Musayev in Bellator will be Michael Lombardo, who has signed an exclusive multi-fight deal with the promotion per a report from MMA Mania.
Lombardo (12-2) has appeared once under the Bellator banner, competing at the Bellator ‘Monster Energy Fight Series’ in 2017. Lombardo won his sole Bellator appearance and that victory kicked off a five-fight win streak that would earn him a shot on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Lombardo lost in his Contender Series bout to Kyle Daukaus via unanimous decision. Since then Lombardo has racked up four straight including a second appearance on the Contender Series. Despite earning a win in his second appearance, Lombardo was not awarded a UFC contract.
Lombard last appeared in the PFL ‘Smart Cage’ in August where he defeated Kyron Bowen in the first round. ‘The Don’ is expected to make his return to the Bellator cage later this year.