Sokoudjou, undefeated Russian heavyweight Dmitriy Sosnovskiy among new Bellator signings

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bellator officials announced the signings of five fighters on Thursday, led by the additions of light heavyweight veteran Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and undefeated Russian heavyweight Dmitriy Sosnovskiy.

Sokoudjou (14-12), who is perhaps most famous for stunning Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona with back-to-back first-round knockouts as an unknown prospect in 2007, joins Bellator's 205-pound division hampered by a two-fight losing streak, having suffered consecutive KO/TKO losses to Evgeny Erokhin and Konstantin Erokhin last year.

"I'm very excited to be joining the Bellator family," Sokoudjou said in a statement. "They have some of the best fighters in the world fighting in their cage and it's something I want to be a part of. Bellator always has exciting fights for the fans, and it's something I'm going to continue for Bellator in every one of my fights."

By contrast, the 24-year-old Sosnovskiy (8-0) jumps into Bellator's heavyweight division after maintaing his pristine record fighting in and around Russia, capped by a first-round TKO stoppage over Aleksander Emelianenko in January.

Along with Sokoudjou and Sosnovskiy, bantamweight prospect Steve Garcia (3-0), French light heavyweight Malik Merad (19-11) and big show veteran Tom DeBlass (9-2) also inked new deals with Bellator MMA.

Garcia shocked former Olympic alternate Shawn Bunch inside the Bellator cage last October, upsetting the previously undefeated wrestler with a third-round TKO stoppage.

Likewise, after falling short in two UFC contests, DeBlass rebounded in 2013 by picking up back-to-back knockouts over Carlos Brooks and Jason Lambert under the Bellator banner.

"I really feel at home here at Bellator and I appreciate what the promotion is doing," DeBlass said. "I love fighting, and I have never felt better during my career. I have a great relationship with Bellator, they take care of me, and now with this new deal, it's time for me to show them I'm one of the best fighters on the roster."

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