Nearly a year after the UFC cut him loose, John Alessio has signed a deal with Bellator MMA.
Bellator officials confirmed Alessio's signing to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) and said the fighter is expected to make his debut with the promotion sometime during Season 9, which begins in September on Spike TV. Although Alessio has fought much of his career at welterweight, he is expected to compete at 155 pounds this fall, where he dropped to 18 months ago.
The Canadian lightweight first announced the news on his Facebook page late Friday. He did not disclose the length of the deal.
"Very excited for this new chapter in my fight career," Alessio wrote on Facebook. "Pumped to fight live on Spike TV for all of you!"
Alessio (34-16 MMA, 0-0 BFC) most recently fought in November in the main event of an Aggression Fighting Championship event in British Columbia, Canada. But an accidental eye poke from opponent Dave Mazany brought the fight to a halt and resulted in a no-contest.
That was Alessio's first fight since the UFC released him following back-to-back decision losses to Mark Bocek and Shane Roller at UFC 145 and UFC 148, respectively.
Those two fights were Alessio's fourth stint in the UFC – but the first that lasted longer than one fight. He was submitted by Pat Miletich at UFC 26 in June 2000, dropped a decision to Diego Sanchez at UFC 60 in May 2006 and lost a decision to Thiago Alves at UFC Fight Night 7 in December 2006.
Alessio got the call to return to the UFC after winning 10 of 11 fights, with the lone loss coming to current UFC fighter Siyar Bahadurzada. In that stretch, his wins included victories over UFC vets Luigi Fioravanti and Chris Clements, WEC and Strikeforce vet Ryan Healy and current Bellator welterweight War Machine.
Alessio's resume also includes a 2002 PRIDE win over Eiji Mitsuoka and a 5-2 record in the WEC, where he lost a welterweight title fight to Carlos Condit in March 2007. He began his pro career when he was just 18 and first fought in the UFC against Miletich a month before his 21st birthday.
Now he'll turn his attention to Bellator's lightweight division.