"Batman" is back. UFC lightweight staple Kurt Pellegrino (16-6) announced his intention to return to the sport of mixed marital arts and is slated to re-debut at the main event of Bellator 59 against Patricky "Pitbull" Freire (9-2) inside his home state of New Jersey.
The 32-year-old returns from a brief flirtation with retirement after denying a renewal to his UFC contract in late May. At the time, Pellegrino stated that he needed to step away from MMA in order to spend more time with his family and "regroup, refocus, and rethink what it is that I want to do going forward." Now it appears that the fighter just couldn't rebuff the call from the sport he loves.
"It was like Rocky II when Adrian awoke from the coma and told Rocky to ‘win'," Pellegrino said in a press release. "I was retired, sitting home watching videos with my son, but I was also training at that time and was in great shape when my wife walked up to me and said ‘If you want to do it again, go for it'. Before that, I felt bad for being away training and missing my daughter's first words, changing diapers, etc. I was so happy that I was able to be there for my son's big moments -- but the fact that my family supports me returning to fight means everything to me."
The always entertaining lightweight's career peaked in early 2010, as Pellegrino rode a four-fight win streak into a title-eliminator match with George Sotiropoulos at UFC 116. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts the caped crusader was bested by the TUF veteran.
Pellegrino then attempted to rebound at UFC 128 against Gleison Tibau, but again lost a close decision, sending the New Jersey native into uncharted waters with his first career two-fight losing streak.
"I retired from fighting and didn't think I was going to do this anymore," Pellegrino said. "I feel like this is the right show for me to do everything I want to do and to go where I want to go. I get to finish the vision quest my way and this is why I chose Bellator. My family comes before anything and Bellator understands that. I wanted to wait until I was able to fight in Atlantic City and Bellator is giving me that opportunity -- so I couldn't be happier."
Bellator 59 is scheduled for November 29th at Caesar's Atlantic City, New Jersey. Co-headlining the card is a lightweight matchup between Polish submission specialist Marcin Held (11-2) and "The Filipino Assassin," Phillipe Nover (6-3-1).