Bellator Signs Unbeaten Russian Heavyweight Vitaly Minakov


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Bellator Fighting Championships continues to bolster its heavyweight stable, as the promotion announced on Thursday that it has added four-time World Sambo champion Vitaly Minakov to its roster.

Unbeaten in eight professional bouts, Minakov is coming off a first-round knockout of former UFC veteran Eddie Sanchez in June. The RusFighters Sport Club representative turned pro in 2010 and has finished all but one of his bouts -- a unanimous decision triumph over Vitalii Yalovenko -- inside of a round.

“There has been tremendous buzz about Vitaly worldwide,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney in a release. “He has an incredible sambo background and a very solid standup game. His potential after just eight fights is very high, and we are excited to have him joining Bellator.”

No date has been announced for Minakov’s Bellator debut, but the Russian is relishing his opportunity with the Chicago-based promotion.

“Becoming a Bellator fighter means that all my hard work in the gym and training has all paid off,” Minakov said. “It means myself and my entire team were working in the right direction, and we did everything right.”

Eventually, Minakov wants to earn his way into Bellator’s next heavyweight bracket.

“With my current training regimen, I feel like I am fully prepared for a future Bellator tournament,” he said. “I want everyone to know that I’m not here just to take part in a Bellator tournament, but to win it all and become a Bellator Champion.”

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