Bellator has been on a roll with fighter signings lately, announcing the inking of an undefeated Russian Tuesday who was ranked No. 7 in our World Scouting Report lightweight rankings.
23-year-old Alexander Sarnavskiy (20-0) will enter their fall 155-pound tournament as the favorite, called the "No. 1 seed" in a press release. A teammate of their top 185'er Alexander Shlemenko, Sarnavskiy has been a pro since late 2008, competing mainly in Russia with some fights for M-1. He's got 18 finishes in 20 fights and has only been out of the first round five times.
He is the second World Scouting Report lightweight to sign this month as Canadian Guillaume DeLorenzi joined Bellator several weeks ago. DeLorenzi (9-1) has won four straight since a February 2009 defeat to Jon "War Machine" Koppenhaver, but hasn't competed since June 2010. Eight of his nine career wins have come via T/KO. He will not debut in the tournament but will fight this year.
Bellator Dips Into AKA Pool
Respected wrestler Shawn Bunch was signed this week to compete in Bellator's 135-pound division. The 29-year-old is a past U.S. National and Pan American wrestling champion who fell short in his attempt to qualify for the next Olympic team.
Bunch is training out of American Kickboxing Academy, home to a litany of wrestlers-turned-fighters like Daniel Cormier, Muhammed Lawal, Jon Fitch and former team member Josh Koscheck. However, Bunch has yet to compete in MMA so his entry into a tournament should still be a little ways off.
For more recent signings, click after the jump.
Heavyweight Roster Bolstered
Last Thursday, the undefeated Vitaly Minakov was signed and will make his promotional debut "shortly". Minakov (8-0) brings four World Sambo Championships to the cage, mainly competing in his home country of Russia. Like many fighters they sign, he's a finisher with seven stoppages in a career that began in April 2010.
Minakov joins the recently announced Ryan Martinez in the division. The 7-1 Martinez will debut on August 24th and has recently been seen in ProElite. He will carry a five fight win streak into his debut against the mysterious TBD.
We Forgot About This Guy
We failed to report on the Memorial Day weekend signing of 135'er Rafael Silva. The 18-3 Brazilian has won ten straight and five of his last six by T/KO. He's another finisher with 15 finishes in his 18 wins. No debut date was announced.
Watch Friday's Event Online
To help promote the upcoming Bellator video game launch, Friday's Bellator 71 show will stream in full on Gametrailers.com, starting at 6 PM EST. During the event, they'll air preview clips from the game. We'll have more on the Summer Series kickoff this week.