Yuri Alcantara (top): Gleidson Venga | Sherdog.com
Brazilian lightweight Yuri “Marajo” Alcantara has inked a five-fight deal with Zuffa and will debut against Ricardo Lamas on Dec. 16 at WEC 53, according to his manager, Wallid Ismail.
Alcantara is also expected to make the transition to the UFC's 155-pound division when the two promotions merge in 2011.
“I'm very happy with this news,” said Ismail. “[UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva and [WEC matchmaker] Sean Shelby often tell me that they will always sign the best of Brazil. They talk about an interesting thing: they like to see the best against the toughest guys. They don’t like those who get weak opponents just to make their record. They are always watching, and it’s important, the level of opponents. Yuri is another great athlete in Zuffa, born on the island of Marajo, and I'm sure that he will shine in the events. He's living a great dream.”
Alcantara enters the Zuffa ranks with a record of 20-3, having gone undefeated in his last 10 bouts, with nine of those 10 wins coming by way of stoppage. On Sept. 18, he defeated both Manuelo “Etoube” Morales and the previously-unbeaten Francisco “Massaranduba” Drinaldo to become the inaugural Jungle Fight lightweight champion.
WEC 53 is set to take place at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., and will be the promotion's final outing before merging with the UFC. The card is headlined by a lightweight title bout between champion Benson Henderson and challenger Anthony Pettis.