Bellator Bantamweight Champion Zach Makovsky didn't defend his title a single time in 2011 but already has one title defense scheduled for 2012 with the next title challenger to be crowned during their next season.
The promotion announced Saturday they have officially signed Masakatsu Ueda and Hiroshi Nakamura for the tournament, joining Alexis Vila, Marcos Galvao, Ed West, Rodrigo Lima and Luis Alberto Nogueira. The final slot is still to be announced.
The 30-year-old Nakamura (14-5-4) has competed mainly for Japanese organizations like Shooto and Deep, winning three of his four fights in 2011. He's mainly a decision fighter (12 decision wins) so don't expect a ton of flashy finishes. David Castillo reported on the soon to be 34-year-old Ueda's signing in-depth earlier this week, but the quick hit info: he's spent nearly his entire career in Shooto and has won four in a row.
The rest of the bantamweight field:
- Vila (11-1) advanced to the finals of last season's 135-pound tourney, losing to tournament winner Eduardo Dantas by unanimous decision.
- Galvao (10-5-1) has lost two of his last three but both losses (Joe Warren, Vila) were seen as wins by many that watched.
- West (17-6) has been with Bellator since the fall of 2010 and is 2-2 in his last four. He advanced to the 2010 finals against Makovsky and got to the semifinals this past year.
- Lima (9-0) will make his promotional debut, picking up victories by first round submission in his last three.
- Nogueira (12-2) went 2-1 in Bellator in 2011, losing to West. He last submitted Zak Laird in 51 seconds in October.
No brackets have been announced yet. Bellator's sixth season starts on Friday, March 2nd on MTV2 with tournaments at 135, 145, 155, 170 and 185.