Bellator Inks Former Strikeforce Welterweight Paul Daley, Debut Expected on July 20


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It didn’t take Paul Daley long to find a new employer.

Less than a week after Strikeforce granted the heavy-handed Brit his release, “Semtex” has signed with the Chicago-based Bellator Fighting Championships. Promotion officials announced the addition of Daley on Friday, and the welterweight’s debut is expected to come at Bellator 72 on July 20.

“I’ve been a ‘Semtex’ fan for years,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney in a release. “He’s an incredibly explosive fighter who is magic to watch inside the cage. So, when the opportunity presented itself to join forces with Paul, it was a simple decision to make. Paul’s one of those fighters I’ve always intentionally stayed home to watch, and now I can watch him cageside at Bellator.”

It was the latest in a recent string of big-name additions for Bellator, which has also added the likes of Brett Rogers and Muhammed Lawal in recent weeks. Daley joins the organization on the heels of a split-decision defeat to Kazuo Misaki at Strikeforce “Tate vs. Rousey” on March 3. The Nottingham, England, native had lost his last three bouts within the Zuffa-owned promotion, falling to Nick Diaz and Tyron Woodley in 2011.

Daley fought outside the Strikeforce banner twice before falling to Misaki, earning unanimous decisions against Jordan Radev in September and Luigi Fiorvanti in October. The 29-year-old owns notable victories over the likes of Martin Kampmann, Jorge Masvidal, Scott Smith, Duane Ludwig and Dustin Hazelett. The Team Rough House Product has finished 20 of his 29 career victories by knockout or technical knockout.

“I’ve been a fan of Bellator for a long while,” Daley stated in the release. “When this chance came up, I was absolutely ready to make a long term commitment to Bellator. I have my sights set on winning the tournament and winning that Bellator title.”

Bellator’s 170-pound bracket is also set to conclude on July 20, when Karl Amoussou and Bryan Baker square off for the right to face reigning welterweight king Ben Askren at a later date. Competing in the tournament format is something that appeals to Daley.

“The organization has really been developing and signing a lot of the best fighters in the world, and it’s another reason why I signed with Bellator,” Daley said. “The tournament format is something that really stood out to me, and it’s a chance to face some of the best fighters in the sport. There isn’t anyone sitting at the top of the mountaintop making decisions on who fights who -- the fighters get to decide who is going to be the next champion, and that’s how it should be. Bellator does it right, and that’s why I’m here.”

Bellator 72 takes place at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla. The event’s main card will be broadcast on MTV2.

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