Maximo Blanco's wild style is headed to Strikeforce's cage. | Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog.com
TOKYO -- Venezuelan dynamo Maximo Blanco is no longer a free agent.
A source close to Blanco has confirmed with Sherdog.com that the SRC veteran and former lightweight King of Pancrase has signed a four-fight deal with Strikeforce.
According to the source, the signing is the first concrete step toward not only competing stateside for the Pan-American freestyle wrestling bronze medalist, but also a permanent relocation to the United States. Currently, the 27-year-old's handlers are seeking an agreement for "Maxi" to train stateside before his debut in the cage.
Originally one of Sengoku Raiden Championships few sponsored "training fighters," Blanco's term with the Japanese MMA promotion officially came to a close when promotional support and housing was withdrawn earlier this year, following the dissolution of SRC's relationship with its top sponsor, Japanese chain retailer Don Quijote.
The native of Caracas, Venezuela, moved to Japan as a teenager to wrestle at Sendai Ikuei High School before attending Nihon University on a wrestling scholarship. In his MMA career, Blanco has trained under the tutelage of Olympic judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida at the Yoshida Dojo and J-Rock Workout Studio in Tokyo.
In search of new career opportunities, recently signed with American management group SuckerPunch Entertainment in the hopes of relocating to the West. Blanco will enter the cage with a cumulative 8-2-1 record, with his last action coming by way of a decision victory over South Korea's Won Sik Park in SRC's "Soul of Fight" last December.