Diego Nunes signs with Bellator

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Diego Nunes, best known for his UFC 131 fight with Kenny Florian, has signed with Bellator MMA and is likely to be one of the favorites when the company does its next featherweight tournament.

Diego Nunes, a featherweight who has never been finished and was considered among the best in the world two years ago, has signed with Bellator on Saturday, according to a source in Bellator.

Nunes (18-4) would go in as one of the favorites the next time the promotion does a tournament in a quest for a shot at Pat Curran (19-4).

The 30-year-old Brazilian, who trains with the Black House team, was cut from UFC after a decision loss to Nik Lentz on Jan. 19 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was his third loss in five fights. The problem had been that Nunes had lost enough to where he really couldn't be a contender, plus because of his closeness with champion Jose Aldo, he had really been used more in a stepping stone role.

Against Lentz, Nunes did better when the fight was standing, which wasn't very often as Lentz scored ten takedowns in the three-round fight. In Nunes' prior bout, he garnered fight of the night honors in winning via decision over Bart Palaszewski on Oct. 5 in Minneapolis.

He also has career wins over former title contender Manvel Gamburyan, former champion Mike Brown and current bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao.

His highest-profile fight was on June 11, 2011, when he was the guy Kenny Florian had to beat to earn his later shot at Aldo. The fight was the co-main event of the UFC 131 pay-per-view in Vancouver, B.C. The fight got the biggest reactions on the show, with Nunes winning the first round and Florian coming back in the second. But Nunes was the more tired of the two in round three. Florian took most of the round, but was knocked down late, but it was not enough to give Nunes the victory.

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