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Bellator Signs Knockout Artist Paul Daley


Bellator continued its aggressive plunge into the free agent pool, signing UFC and Strikeforce veteran Paul Daley.

The promotion confirmed the addition of the British knockout artist to MMA Fighting on Friday.

Daley will make his organizational debut at Bellator 72 on July 20.

"I’ve been a 'Semtex' fan for years," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a statement. "He’s an incredibly explosive fighter who is magic to watch inside the cage. So, when the opportunity presented itself to join forces with Paul, it was a simple decision to make. Paul’s one of those fighters I’ve always intentionally stayed home to watch and now I can watch him cageside at Bellator."

Just last week, the 29-year-old Daley had asked for and been granted his release from Strikeforce.

It didn't take him long to find a new home.

"I've been a fan of Bellator for a long while," Daley said in a statement. "When this chance came up, I was absolutely ready to make a long-term commitment to Bellator. I have my sights set on winning the tournament and winning that Bellator title."

The UK-based welterweight has established a reputation as one of the hardest-hitters in the division, earning 20 knockout wins over the course of his career. He's 29-12-2 overall.

Daley has had runs in promotions from the UFC to Strikeforce to BAMMA, and holds career wins over respected veterans like Martin Kampmann, Jorge Masvidal and Duane Ludwig. He was memorably booted from the UFC after punching Josh Koscheck after the final bell of their UFC 113 fight, and UFC president Dana White vowed never to employ him again. Daley, of course, did later ply his trade in a Zuffa-owned organization when the company bought Strikeforce in 2011.

While competing for the promotion, he fought Nick Diaz for the welterweight title, losing via TKO with three seconds left in the first round, a round that many considered the best one of 2011.

His last fight came in March, when he lost a close, split-decision to Kazuo Misaki. Prior to that, he'd earned back-to-back wins over Luigi Fioravanti and Jordan Radev.

Daley is the second major signing for the promotion within the last few weeks. In May, they inked former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo." Lawal to a deal.

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