In yet another move to solidify its burgeoning featherweight division, Bellator Fighting Championships on Friday announced it had signed EliteXC, Strikeforce and Affliction veteran Bao Quach. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Seasoned by 27 professional mixed martial arts bouts, the 30-year-old Quach will join Georgi Karakhanyan, William Romero and Patricio “Pitbull” Freire in the promotion’s Season 2 featherweight tournament. The tournament winner will earn a shot at reigning Bellator 145-pound champion Joe Soto.
“During the last three years, Bao has established himself as a fighter with devastating world-class striking abilities,” Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a release. “The level of his striking and kickboxing is at the highest level in MMA. Once he really started to take the sport seriously, the results began to speak for themselves. If he maintains this level of focus, he could be very hard to beat at 145.”
A Colin Oyama protégé, Quach has posted 11 wins 12 fights, losing only to current World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight L.C. Davis in that span. A potent striker, he holds notable victories against UFC veteran Douglas Evans and former WEC champion Cole Escovedo; Quach fought the world-ranked Hatsu Hioki to a draw in 2006.
The son of two California-based Vietnamese physicians, Quach has not been finished since being knocked out by a head kick from former International Fight League featherweight titleholder Wagnney Fabiano in June 2006. His parents, he admits, would have preferred he chosen another line of work.
“My parents, honestly, are not thrilled with the idea that I’m a professional fighter,” Quach said. “They wanted me, I think, to be a doctor or a lawyer. But that’s OK. This is something I truly love, and, sometimes, you have to go your own way and do what’s right for yourself.”