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Bellator MMA, not UFC, signs TUF veteran and RFA featherweight champion Justin Lawrence

Looks like the competition is heating up on the free agency market.

Esther Lin

Look out Patricio Freire!

Bellator MMA has signed former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran and Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) featherweight champion Justin Lawrence.

UFC brass have been known to sign a few major prospects from RFA, so many believed Lawrence would be making his way back to the Octagon following his recent title defense at RFA 25.


Instead, Bellator MMA announced through a press release they have dipped their hands into the free agent market again, pulling out another intriguing prospect.

From Bellator MMA President Scott Coker:

"Its been a big week for Bellator, with Gleristone Santos, Phil Davis and now Justin Lawrence joining the ranks. We remain committed to not just signing proven stars, but also recruiting top prospects from regional promotions, evidenced by our recent signing of RFA featherweight champion and top young up and coming fighter Justin Lawrence. I said it before and I will continue to say it, we will build them from ground up and hit it from the top down."

Just days after Scott Coker and Bellator MMA brass signed former top-10 UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis, the gang is back and snatching up prospects from one of UFC's premier talent pools.

While details of the multi-fight deal were not made public, reports state that Lawrence is expected to make his debut later this year.

Even though "The American Kid" made a name for himself in the mixed martial arts (MMA) realm during his stint on season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and his subsequent head kick knockout over John Cofer at the TUF finale, Lawrence actually made his professional MMA debut under the Strikeforce banner, formerly run by Coker himself.

Lawrence was unable to accrue another UFC victory following his highlight reel finish, getting finished in back-to-back fights by Max Holloway and Daniel Pineda before being granted the dubious pink slip.

Since then, Lawrence has reeled off three straight victories, and will now be taking his talent to the Bellator cage in the already stacked 145-pound division.

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