Since Bellator has added big name UFC vets like “Rampage” Jackson, Tito Oritz and Cheick Kongo to its roster in recent months, the signing of Diego Nunes got lost in the shuffle a little bit. While Nunes went 3-3 in the UFC, the Brazilian did have a ton of hype behind him not long ago and was matched up with Kenny Florian in 2011 (and lost by unanimous decision).

So, due the abilities and record of Nunes, it wasn’t surprising to hear that he would compete in Bellator’s next featherweight tournament, which gets under way tonight in Temecula. The 30 year-old, however, will face a ridiculously tough test right off the bat in Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, who has won not one, but two tourney’s to date. His only losses have come against former champ Joe Warren and current champ Pat Curran. So, how does Nunes plan on taking out “Pitbull” and advancing to the semifinals? While speaking to MMA recently, Nunes relayed he’s been working on two key areas of his game, which he believes will help him become Bellator champ.

“Pat showed how to use length and point fighting to win,” Nunes said. “But I changed my own style. I don’t back up anymore. I respond in kind when I’m attacked. And I hit hard. Patricio is a shorter fighter. I’ll be using my muay Thai to neutralize his attacks. I’ll be using a strong muay Thai with hard punches and harder kicks to neutralize him.”

“I’ve been training hard for four months for this fight. “… The focus of my training has been in takedowns and knockouts. I’ve been working a lot on physical strength and explosion, so when I hit my adversary, he’ll drop. That’s what I’ve been focusing on. My greatest opponent is not Patricio ‘Pitbull,’ it’s my own wish to win this tournament. By being champion, I’ll be able to start my family – to get married, to have children. That’s what motivates me, and no one is going to stop me until I accomplish it.”

It could be a doozy of a main event. Bellator 99 will go down at the Pechanga Resort and the main card will get under way on SPIKE beginning at 9/8 C.

Stay tuned to Caged for all your Bellator news and coverage.