Falaniko Vitale | Mike Fridley/Sherdog.com
Middleweight veteran Falaniko Vitale has signed a long-term contract with Bellator Fighting Championships.
Sherdog.com learned of the signing -- which has not yet been announced by the promotion -- from a source close to the negotiations on Thursday. Although Vitale is expected to compete in a to-be-named March event outside of Bellator, Sherdog.com's source asserts that the Hawaiian fighter will make his Bellator debut during the promotion's upcoming fourth season.
An 11-year veteran of the sport, Vitale made his UFC debut in 2003, beating Matt Lindland at UFC 43. After dropping the rematch to Lindland at UFC 45, Vitale would suffer a tough stretch from 2005 to 2006, losing four of five contests to Jeremy Horn, Jason "Mayhem" Miller and Robbie Lawler (twice).
“Niko” made his Strikeforce debut in 2007, forcing Ron Shields to submit to strikes at Strikeforce “Playboy Mansion.” Most recently, Vitale has won back-to-back contests, submitting both Kalib Starnes and Kala Hose with Ezekiel chokes in 2010. The middleweight holds 16 of his 28 career victories by submission and eight by knockout.