CageJunkies Exclusive: Former baseball prospect Shah Bobonis signs with Bellator

Shah Bobonis

For Miami-native Shah Bobonis, his big league dreams once consisted of being the next Dennis Eckersley or Ugeth Urbina.

After getting drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 1997 Major League Baseball draft, Bobonis nearly saw those dreams come to fruition. However, after spending some time in the minor leagues, eventually he decided to trade in the Louisville Sluggers for five ounce gloves and began training at the Miami-based Freesyle Fighting Academy.

Bobonis’ 14-year journey has now come full circle as the 33-year old has signed a contract to face fellow Floridian Marcos de Matta at Bellator 50 on September 17. Bobonis (11-6) currently finds himself in the midst of a three-fight win streak; during which he captured the Mexican based Combat Extremo featherweight title. Bobonis also recently made headlines for helping current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz prepare for his title at UFC 132 defense against Urijah Faber.

Now Bobonis himself will have the opportunity to step up to the “big leagues” an opportunity he’s well prepared for.

“I’ve paid my dues up to this point, and I’m preparing for this like the hungriest fighter in the game,” Bobonis said. “I’ve come a long way and I’m ready to show the world what I’m all about.”

The fight between Bobonis and deMatta will pit two of Florida’s top featherweights. The bout is one Bobonis has been asking for, and finding out he was getting his wish on the big stage was music to his ears.

“I feel in order to be the best, you have to fight the very best,” Bobonis said. “deMatta is one of the top featherweights in the state of Florida for good reason. I’ve been wanting to fight people of his caliber because I feel that I’m mentally and physically ready to push myself to that next level. Marcos will bring out the best in me, and I couldn’t be happier to fight someone of his caliber.”

The fight between the two will be held at a catch weight of 140 pounds. From here, Bobonis plans on making the full time drop to 135 pounds, with Bellator 50 being a new beginning.

“It’s time to get serious with my career,” Bobonis said. “I’m more comfortable at 135 and feel it benefits me long term to make the drop in weight full-time.”

While Bellator 50 will be his first appearance on the national stage as a Mixed Martial Artist, Bobonis claims it’s only just the beginning.

“Now that I’m on the big stage, I’ll be here to stay,” Bobonis said. “You can bet on it!”

Bellator 50 is scheduled to be held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Along with the fight between Bobonis and deMatta, the event will feature the quarterfinal round of Season 5′s middleweight tournament.

- Cage Junkies

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