Bellator tournament veteran Alexis Vila will return to 125 pounds on Jan. 19, when “The Exorcist” takes on Joshua Sampo for the Championship Fighting Alliance flyweight title at CFA 9.

“I decided to move back down to flyweight because it is a more natural fit for me,” Vila said in the promotion’s official release. “I only moved to bantamweight to try to further my career and get into the UFC, but now that they have a flyweight division, staying at bantamweight doesn't make sense.”

Subtitled “Night of Champions,” CFA 9 takes place at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla. In addition to Vila’s flyweight title clash with Sampo, the event will also see Pride Fighting Championships veteran Luiz Firmino face Bellator alum Luis Palomino for the CFA lightweight strap in the evening’s headliner.

Vila, 41, won a freestyle wrestling bronze medal for his native Cuba at the 1996 Olympics but did not debut in MMA until 2007. The hard-hitting wrestler rattled off nine straight wins before making his Bellator Fighting Championships foray as a bantamweight in 2011, knocking out Joe Warren and edging Marcos Galvao before running into future champion Eduardo Dantas in the Season 5 tournament finals. Vila last competed in April, dropping a unanimous decision to Luis Alberto Nogueira in the opening round of the Season 6 draw.

“I feel I am unbeatable at flyweight. I've been training hard for almost a year waiting for this opportunity. I will walk away with that belt around my waist,” Vila continued. “I know I would run through the guys in the UFC. Many of them have been ducking out of fights with me for years. I want my chance to prove I am the best, and the only way to do that is for the UFC to sign me. Then they will be forced to fight me.”

Sampo, 28, makes his CFA debut on the heels of the biggest win of his career, as “The Gremlin” took a unanimous decision over former World Extreme Cagefighting staple Antonio Banuelos on Sept. 14 under the Texas-based Legacy Fighting Championship banner. Sampo posted a 3-1 record in 2012, with a May knockout defeat to former UFC talent Will Campuzano serving as the lone blemish on his record in his last six fights.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC vet Niklas Backstrom meets Brian Moore under BAMMA banner at Bellator 169 in Dublin

  • 4 days ago

Bellator’s December debut in Ireland, a co-promotion, has a pair of new BAMMA bouts set for the lineup. Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

WSOF, Bellator vet Saul Almeida meets unbeaten Manny Bermudez at CES MMA 39

  • 8 days ago

Next month’s CES MMA event has a new fight ticketed for the card featuring a WSOF and Bellator veteran. Filed under: AXS TV Fights read news >>

Ex-featherweight title challenger Daniel Weichel meets Paul Redmond at Bellator 169 in Dublin

  • 9 days ago

Bellator’s December debut in Ireland has another fight booked for the card, and it features a former title challenger against one of Dublin’s own. Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Chad Laprise returns to welterweight, meets Li Jingliang at UFC 206 in Toronto

  • 8 days ago

A Canadian fighter is heading back to his former weight class, and will do it in front of his home fans. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Daniel Weichel, Former Bellator Title Challenger, Added to Dublin Fight Card |

  • 8 days ago

Bellator has added a brand new fight to its debut event in Ireland, featuring former featherweight title challenger Daniel Weichel. read news >>

Legacy FC 61 results: Damon Jackson grinds past Levi Mowles, Mackenzie Dern pulls incredible submission

  • 8 days ago

Three-time UFC veteran Damon Jackson returned to the regional scene with a victory, but 21-year-old prospect Levi Mowles made it an incredibly difficult affair.Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News read news >>

Brazil's Francimar Barroso meets England's Darren Stewart at UFC Fight Night 100 in Sao Paulo

  • 8 days ago

Another fight has been made official for next month’s UFC return to Brazil, and the card likely is complete with a dozen fights. Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Bellator champ Daniel Straus on hand surgery, comeback: 'Mentally I have a big hill to climb'

  • 8 days ago

Out of action since this past November due to hand injuries and a recent surgery, Bellator champ Daniel Straus has been cleared to resume his training. He said his hand still needs some work, but tha read news >>

Bellator 162 headliner Kendall Grove loving life, not worrying about future title shots

  • 8 days ago

If Kendall Grove wasn’t so busy loving life, he might have time to sit around and wonder if a Bellator title shot might be in his future. Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos read news >>

Julia Budd Out to Prove She Deserves Bellator Belt |

  • 6 days ago

Julia Budd spent much of 2016 sidelined due to injury. She returns on Friday to remind everyone that she deserves a Bellator belt. read news >>