ARES Fighting Championship, the first Afro-European professional MMA promotion, continue to strengthen their roster with another four confirmed signings in the past 10 days.
Although the fledgling ARES only have one event under their belts, the latest additions to an already growing pool of fighters shows the intent and direction that they are taking.
Danilo Belluardo (12-5)
The ball started rolling on 4th June when ARES announced the signing of former Venator champion and UFC man, Danilo Belluardo. Ranked as the number 1 lightweight in Italy, Belluardo joins ARES with an impressive 50% KO record from his 12 wins.
Fighting out of Aurora MMA in Milan, Belluardo joins the lightweight division following UFC defeats to Mark O. Madsen and Joel Alvarez, both coming by way of ground and pound.
Prior to his stint in the UFC, Belluardo was on a 6-fight win streak with 4 of those wins coming via 1st round finishes. Having also competed on Bellator 152, Belluardo brings a wealth of experience to the lightweight ranks.
Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam
Perhaps the biggest surprise signing over the past week was that of former WBO and WBA middleweight champion, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. The 36-year-old French Cameroonian, becomes the latest boxer to transition to the world of MMA.
With a professional record of 37-5, N’Jikam has only been stopped twice in his 42-fight career with defeats against Callum Smith by 3rd round TKO in June 2019 and a 7th round retirement against Ryota Murata in October 2017. With 21 of his 37 wins coming by way of KO, the experienced N’Jikam no doubt packs a punch but whether he can utilise his boxing talents in MMA remains to be seen.
Eric Shelton (13-7)
Former UFC flyweight Eric Shelton put pen to paper last week as he looks to kickstart his career in what should be an exciting chapter for the 29-year-old.
Competing in Warrior Xtreme Cagefighting following his release from the UFC, Shelton chalked up 6 fights in his 2 years with the promotion after competing on The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions.
Finishing with a UFC record of 2-4, Shelton picked up decision wins against Joseph Morales and Jenel Lausa before being cut from the roster. With all 7 of his defeats coming by way of a decision, Shelton will prove a willing and testing opponent for those he faces in ARES.
Brendan Lesar (3-1)
South African middleweight Brendan Lesar joins the ARES middleweight division having previously fought with EFC. Turning pro in 2016, Lesar has a win against former UFC man Garreth McLellan and a defeat in his last outing when he came up short against Dricus Du Plessis.