Recently Bellator Fighting Championships announced the last three participants in its season four Lightweight Tournament as well as the date and location for the event that will kick off the eight-man tourney. Those final participants are two-time tournament finalist Toby Imada (#51 Lightweight), Patricky Freire, and Marcin Held, and they join Michael Chandler, Lloyd Woodard, Ferrid Kheder, “Razor” Rob McCullough (#70 Lightweight) and Carey Vanier (#95) in Bellator’s Season 4 Lightweight Tournament, which will kick off at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana on March 12. The tournament winner will take home $100,000 and the right to challenge Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez (#11 Lightweight) for the title.
Toby Imada became a viral sensation during Bellator’s first season when he successfully choked Jorge Masividal unconscious with a rarely seen inverted triangle. The effort resulted in Imada topping multiple Submission of the Year lists in 2009 (see above). After losing in the finals of the first two Lightweight Tournaments, Imada has something to prove this spring. “I’m tired of being the guy that comes up short and doesn’t live up to what people expect from him,” Imada was quoted in a press release.
A seven-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu State Champion, two-time Regional Brazilian State Champion, as well as a kickboxing and boxing State Champion, Patricky Freire is best known in the United States as the brother of featherweight phenom Patricio Freire. “I’m very anxious to show fans in the United States what I’m capable of,” said Freire. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to fight at a really high level, and now I will with Bellator.”
The final tournament participant is 19-year-old Polish prodigy Marcin Held. “I have been waiting for this for so long. I just want to show my best,” Held was quoted in a press release. “Marcin is a young fighter with a lot of hype surrounding him, and I’m happy that we’ve been able to bring him to the States and let US fans see what he’s capable of,” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Marcin’s a true talent with great potential and will make a fantastic addition to our Lightweight Tournament.”
Bellator Season 4 kicks off live on MTV2 at on Sat., March 5, 2011 at 9 p.m. EST from Tachi Palace Resort & Casino in Lemoore, Calif. Bellator previously announced its upcoming Featherweight and Welterweight Tournaments. The Featherweight bracket features unheralded Nazareno Melagarie, Patricio Freire (#21 Featherweight), Wilson Reis (#23), Daniel Straus (#20), Georgi Karakhanyan (#29), Kenny Foster, Zac George and Eric Larkin in the Featherweight Tournament field. The tournament winner will take home $100,000 and a shot at Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren (#2)
The Welterweight Tournament features Jay Hieron (#19 Welterweight), Steve Carl (#43), “Judo” Jimmy Wallhead, former Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good (#38), Dan Hornbuckle (#57), Brent Weedman (#84), Chris Lozano, and former Olympic judoka Rick Hawn as they compete for $100,000 and a shot at Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren (#16). Both Lozano and Hawn will enter our rankings after their first tournament fight.
The promotion’s inaugural Light-Heavyweight Tournament is the other officially-announced component of Bellator’s upcoming fourth season, which will air on MTV2. In the coming weeks, Bellator will announce the rest of its season four tournament participants. To date, the other announced fighters for season four are Joe Riggs, Daniel Gracie and Ron Sparks.
The promotion currently boasts champions in all men’s divisions but Flyweight and Light Heavyweight. Those champions are Zach Makovsky (#11 Bantamweight), Joe Warren (#2 Featherweight), Eddie Alvarez (#11 Lightweight), Ben Askren (#15 Welterweight), Hector Lombard (#7 Middleweight), Cole Konrad (#25 Heavyweight), and Zoila Frausto, who will likely be at the top of the heap when FIGHT! unveils its Women’s Flyweight Rankings.