by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Toby Imada, whose “Submission of the Year” helped put Bellator Fighting Championships on the map during its debut season, will return to the promotion for its upcoming Season 2 lightweight tournament.
“Toby has meant a great deal to our company and we are very pleased to have him back for our Season 2 lightweight tournament,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Toby Imada epitomizes the heart and soul of our tournament format where winning is what matters and where fighters can truly control their own destiny.”
Imada’s remarkable submission, an inverted triangle choke of Jorge Masvidal at Bellator V, became an overnight YouTube sensation (more than 650,000 people have watched it online to date) and took home honors for “Submission of the Year” from the 2009 World MMA Awards and virtually every major MMA news site including MMAWeekly.com.
Imada is the sixth confirmed participant in Bellator’s Season 2 lightweight tournament along with Carey Vanier, Ferrid Kheder, Mike Ricci, Janne Tulirinta and Chad Hinton.
Imada was on an eight-fight win streak when he was defeated by Eddie Alvarez in Bellator’s first Lightweight World Championship fight in June, and enters the second season tournament looking to get back to a title bout.
“It’s a great thing for me to return to Bellator,” Imada said. “I can’t promise that I’ll give the fans another inverted triangle, but I can promise that I’m gonna’ be fighting my heart out and looking to take home that belt. I want to thank Bellator for all the opportunities they’ve given me.”
Bellator will also conduct featherweight, welterweight and middleweight tournaments during its second season, which will be televised on FOX Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo. Winners of each tournament will earn the rank of No. 1 contender and the chance to face off in a title bout against Bellator’s Season 1 champions.