Former UFC flyweight contender Louis Smolka has a new home.
“The Last Samurai” announced via Twitter on Friday that he will be fighting at a Gladiator Challenge event on April 21. The promotion has not yet confirmed the news.
When reached by BloodyElbow.com Friday night, Smolka (11-5) said he was “told” he will be facing Ralph Acosta (18-12), but that he has yet to sign a contract.
April 21st I’ll be fighting in Palm Springs at Agua Caliente Resort. I’m excited to showcase what I’ve been working on and to test free agency. If you guys want to come and check out the fights I have tickets for $45 and I’ll be looking for sponsors as well. Thanks for reading
Smolka was a mainstay in the UFC’s 125-pound division from January 2014 to the end of last year. His contract ended after a loss to Matheus Nicolau at UFC 219 last December and the UFC opted not to re-sign him, Smolka told BloodyElbow.com earlier this year.
Smolka had several highlights in the big leagues, including a main-event submission win over Paddy Holohan in Dublin, Ireland. The Hawaii native also holds a TKO win over current contender Ben Nguyen. He was nearing title talks in 2016, but, after an impressive four-fight winning streak, was upset by Brandon Moreno that October. That defeat led to a surprising four-fight skid, which included losses to Ray Borg and Tim Elliott.
Smolka told BloodyElbow.com in January that he had parted ways with the UFC, but that he was told he would likely be able to re-join the premier MMA promotion with a couple of wins on the local circuit.
“(UFC matchmaker) Mick (Maynard) said two wins and they’ll re-sign me,” Smolka said. “With how things are going right now, dropping four in a row, I’m like, ‘I see why. I’m not even mad about it. I’m just trying to get my sh-t back together as quickly as possible.’”
The Gladiator Challenge card takes place at Agua Caliente Resort in Palm Springs, California.
Smolka’s opponent, Acosta, is riding a two-fight winning streak. The 36-year-old most recently fought at Combate 17 last September, submitting Gareth De la Cruz in the first round.