Bellator MMA has signed Pancrase welterweight champion Masayuki Kikuiri to a multi-fight exclusive deal, a source informed The AllStar. A debut date or opponent was not revealed for the 27-year-old, but his promotional debut is targeted for the end of the year.
Kikuiri has fought all his twelve professional fights for the Japanese organization Pancrase. Most recently, he won the welterweight championship over Akihito Muriyama in June of 2021. The Chiba native is a knockout specialist, finishing five of his eight wins by knockout or TKO, including a crescent kick finish over Hiromitsu Miura at Pancrase 322.
The signing marks a welcome addition of Asian talent to the Bellator roster, which historically has not featured many fighters from the continent. Kikuiri joins countrymen and women Kyoji Horiguchi, Goiti Yamauchi, and Kana Watanabe on the Bellator roster, all of which have enjoyed a great deal of success in the promotion.
Bellator and Japanese promotion RIZIN have enjoyed somewhat of a partnership over the last few years, with Bellator sending Horiguchi to compete for his old employer later this month against Kintaro Hokamura.