UFC veteran Kurt Pellegrino has cut his retirement short and will return to the Bellator cage on Nov. 15, when “Batman” takes on fellow lightweight Saul Almeida.
Bellator officials announced the news Monday, also revealing that another UFC alum and New Jersey native, Tom DeBlass, will compete at the event against a to-be-named opponent. The show takes place at Revel and will additionally feature the Season 9 welterweight and featherweight tournament finals.
Pellegrino, 34, announced his retirement following a 50-second technical knockout loss to Patricky Freire in November 2011. That Bellator 59 defeat marked the third straight setback for “Batman,” who ended his UFC career the previous March on the heels of back-to-back losses to George Sotiropoulos and Gleison Tibau.
“I’ve been in retirement for the last two years, but I’ve been in the gym every day since and the competitive fire has still been burning inside of me,” Pellegrino said. “Every morning I wake up I realize I had the same dream as the night before, and it’s to go out the way I want. With Bellator back in Atlantic City, this is my opportunity to end my nightmare and go out the way I want, the way I deserve.”
Almeida has lost three straight fights after beginning his career 12-1. The 24-year-old holds a 1-1 Bellator record and last competed on Feb. 1, when he was outpointed by once-beaten Bostonian Rob Font under the CES MMA banner.
DeBlass announced his retirement last November following a unanimous decision defeat to Riki Fukuda at UFC on Fuel TV 6 but returned to the cage on April 4, making a successful promotional debut over Carlos Brooks at Bellator 95. A disciple of Ricardo Almeida, DeBlass owns five of his eight victories by either knockout or submission and has never been stopped in 10 pro bouts.