MMA Odds and Ends for Thursday: Wanderlei Silva signs with Bellator, two new matchups added to Bellator 153

Wanderlei Silva ends retirement to sign with Bellator MMA  After close to a two-year retirement, Pride FC legend Wanderlei Silva has agreed to terms on a multi-year, multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA according to ESPN. Silva (35-12-1) was initially given a lifetime suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission after fleeing a random drug test before his UFC 175 matchup with Chael Sonnen. Later the ban was reduced to a three-year suspension last May, meaning the 39-year old can’t fight for Bellator until spring of 2017. However given the ties Bellator has to Japanese based promotion Rizin, it’s entirely possible Silva fights overseas next. “The Axe Murderer” last competed in March of 2013, where he defeated Brian Stann by second-round knockout at UFC on Fuel TV 8.   Bellator 153 adds Pitbull vs. Teixeira, Cyborg vs. Ward  Bellator officials announced on Wednesday that featherweight Patricio “Pitbull” Freire will take on John Texieria and newly signed Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos will face Brennan Ward. Freire (24-3) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Daniel Straus where he subsequently dropped his featherweight title last November. The loss for “Pitbull” snapped his seven-fight win streak. Teixeira (19-1-2) heads into this matchup on an eight-fight unbeaten streak including three straight wins in Bellator over Scott Cleve, Fabricio Guerreiro and Gleristone Santos. Santos (20-16) is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Artenas Young at Legacy FC 50 in January. It was his first win since 2013 and first time back in the cage since April 2014. Ward (13-3) is riding a four-fight win streak – all finishes – as he looks to win five in a row for the second time in his career. Bellator 153 takes place April 22 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Here’s an updated look at the card. MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET) Andrey Koreshkov vs. Benson Henderson – for welterweight title Patricio Freire vs. John Teixeira Evangelista Santos vs. Brennan Ward PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie, 7 p.m. ET) Dean Hancock vs. Sam Watford Chris Foster vs. Felipe Lavandoski Jay Bakanowski vs. T.J. Hepburn Mike Mangan vs. Pete Rogers   Zak Cummings replaces Bartosz Fabinski, takes on Nicolas Dalby at UFC Fight Night 86 UFC officials announced Wednesday that Zak Cummings has replaced welterweight Bartosz Fanbinski at the UFC’s debut in Croatia. Cummings (18-4) looks for his sixth win in his last seven fights. The Glory MMA product is coming off an impressive TKO victory over Dominique Steele at UFC on FOX 16. Dalby (14-0-1) heads into this fight off a majority draw to Darren Till at UFC Fight Night 76 but has yet to taste defeat in his 15-fight career. UFC Fight Night 86 takes place April 10 at Zagreb Arena in Zagreb, Croatia. Here’s an updated look at the card.   Junior Dos Santos vs. Ben Rothwell Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ruslan Magomedov Jan Blachowicz vs. Igor Pokrajac Bojan Mihajlovic vs. Francis Ngannou Zak Cummings vs. Nicolas Dalby Timothy Johnson vs. Marcin Tybura Alessio Di Chirico vs. Bojan Velickovic Filip Pejic vs. Damian Stasiak Damir Hadzovic vs. Mairbek Taisumov Cyril Asker vs. Jared Cannonier

Written by James Lynch

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