Maiquel Falcao (32-5, 1 no-contest) successfully returned to the cages on Feb. 15.
Headlining the Oplot Challenge 100 card in Kharkov, Ukraine, the UFC and Bellator veteran got back in the win column with a second-round submission over Dibir Zagirov (13-4), finishing the contest with a guillotine choke.
"The fight wasn’t as I was expecting, but thank God I got the win," Falcao told MMAFighting.com. "He was tougher than I expected. He’s a really good prospect."
Falcao wasn’t happy with his performance despite the finish, but blames the trip to Ukraine.
"It took me 38 hours to get there, but every hour was worthy because I was able to work again and give my family a better life," he said. "I was frustrated I couldn’t get a fight to make some money."
Falcao recorded a win for the first time since losing to Alexander Shlemenko for the Bellator middleweight title a year ago, and claims he’s still under contract with the promotion despite the fact that Bellator announced last July that he was released.
"I still do (have a contract with Bellator), but I’m waiting for their decision to give me another fight," he said. "I’ll likely fight again twice in Ukraine, Russia or Brazil before returning to Bellator. I want to get back in shape to get back there."
Bellator announced the release of Falcao after he was involved in a brawl in a gas station in Brazil. The Brazilian, who won the season six middleweight tournament title in 2012, claims he was the victim in the case.
"I have 40 fights, but I felt like I was regressed 30 fights with this situation," he said.
"It was unfair. The justice proved I’m innocent, that I’m the victim, but the media used that against me. I lost sponsors, contracts, and now I’m working to get back. Justice did its job, but the media was wrong."