Jon Fitch has another big name ahead for his debut at Bellator 199, as he’ll be taking on Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley.
It didn’t take long for Bellator MMA to pair up newly signed free agent Jon Fitch. Just a day after his signing with the promotion was made official, Bellator officials announced that Fitch would face veteran British striker Paul Daley. The bout had repeatedly been in the works nearly since the moment Fitch’s name was first linked to Bellator. On Friday night’s Bellator 195 broadcast, the promotion confirmed the pair will meet at Bellator 199 later this year.
Perhaps the only surprise is that Daley won’t be part of Bellator’s big Bellator 200 card in London. Instead, he’ll meet Fitch one event earlier in San Jose, CA. Daley (40–15–2) had been at odds with the promotion of late, reportedly asking for his release. A lot of that had to do with the failure of Bellator to book him into a fight with rival Michael Page. However, it seems cooler heads have prevailed. Daley, who picked up a knockout of top welterweight Lorenz Larkin last time out, has not fought since September, but will get back in the cage against Fitch, in what should be a classic grappler vs. striker bout.
The grappler in that equation, Jon Fitch (30–7–1 (1)) will enter his Bellator MMA debut having won four straight. The 40-year old former UFC title challenger was the WSOF’s welterweight champ, and last defended that title at PFL 1, as the WSOF became the Professional Fighters League. However, with the company moving to a tournament format and doing away with its current batch of champions, Fitch opted to make the jump to Bellator.
An Indiana native fighting out of San Jose, Fitch will be right at home for Bellator 199. Among his recent notable wins are victories over Jake Shields and Yushin Okami. Back in his UFC days, he scored wins over Josh Burkman, Thiago Alves (twice), Diego Sanchez, Ben Saunders, Erick Silva, and others. He came up short, however, against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 87 in his only title shot in the promotion.
Bellator 199 takes place May 12 at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA.