A pair of competitors who called the UFC home earlier this year will make their Bellator debuts on the same card this September 13 when light heavyweight Vladimir Matyushenko and featherweight Diego Nunes take to the ring at Bellator 99. Matyushenko is set to face former Bellator champ Christian M’Pumbu, while Nunes is one of eight men competing in a Season 9 tournament with Patricio Freire serving as his quarterfinal foe.
Bellator confirmed the card earlier today in a press release. The show will take place at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Southern California.
The 26-7 Matyushenko sounded as though he couldn’t have been more pleased with his pairing, stating, “This is exactly what I wanted entering Bellator – a tough test from the start. I still have a lot of fights left in my tank, and this is the start of a new chapter in my career.”
M’Pumbu is coming off back-to-back losses after making a run through an earlier tournament and earning the honor of Bellator’s first-ever 205-pound champion. He is 18-5-1 in his career including fifteen finishes.
Nunes, who holds an 18-5 mark, alternated between wins/losses in his six UFC fights. During his run he picked up victories over Mike Brown, Manny Gamburyan, and Bart Palaszewski. In Freire he will face a perenial title-contender with a 17-2 record who is known for his speed, athleticism, and well-rounded technique.
The other three featherweight quarterfinal clashes will feature Fabricio Guerreiro-Des Green, Joe Taimanglo-Andrew Fisher, and Shahbulat Shamhalaev-Akop Stepanyan.