Kevin Souza has signed a deal with Bellator and makes his promotional debut Saturday, as he replaces injured Derek Campos in the Bellator 152 main event against Patricky Freire, sources confirmed to MMA Fighting following a report by MMA Junkie.
Bellator 152 takes place April 16 at the Pala Alpitour arena in Torino, Italy.
Souza (16-4) impressed as a featherweight in the UFC between 2013 and 2015, racking up three straight wins with a pair of post-fight bonuses, but was released from the promotion after losing to Chas Skelly last November. Souza will move up to 155 pounds for this bout, and might stay at lightweight if he’s victorious.
"Maybe, I don’t know yet," Souza told MMA Fighting, confirming that he signed a four-fight deal with Bellator. "I will fight and see how I feel. I’m fighting a guy that is at the top of the division, close to the title, and I believe that a win over him gives me a big chance of being the next in line, so we’ll see what happens."
Freire (15-7) enters the cage three months after knocking out Ryan Couture in one round at Bellator 148. "Pitbull", who won five of his last seven bouts under the Bellator banner, was initially scheduled to rematch Campos two years after scoring a second-round knockout over "The Stallion" in a lightweight tournament semifinal.