The championship fight of Bellator Fighting Championship's eight man lightweight tournament is now set following the conclusion of the two semifinal match ups earlier tonight from the Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio.
One of the two men who will be mixing it up in that final round won't come as much of a surprise to anyone, as the pride of Philadelphia mixed martial arts, Eddie Alvarez, dispatched a game Eric Reynolds with a third round submission in the main event of Bellator V.
Alvarez utilized a strong ground and pound attack throughout the fight, easily taking dominant positions when on the ground and landing violent strikes from there. The Fight Factory product had his opponent fully mounted a number of times, but the hard nosed Reynolds somehow stayed competitive and fought his way through the first two rounds.
In the third, however, Alvarez was finally able to finish the fight. Reynolds was clearly worn down from the first two rounds, and this time he was unable to fight off the relentless tournament favorite. Eddie stuck to his gameplan, taking the fight to the mat once again. This time, though, he didn't take the mount position. Instead he worked his way onto Reynolds' back, and from there it was only a matter of time before he sunk in the fight ending rear naked choke.
The other tournament favorite, Jorge Masvidal, was forced to deal with a little bit more difficult of an opponent than Alvarez though. Toby Imada came ready to scrap tonight. He took everything that "Gamebred" could throw at him for the first two rounds, and it looked like Masvidal was on his way to a clear cut decision victory.
But the resilient Imada had other plans.
Battered and bloodied from the punishment laid down from the superb striking of Masvidal through the first two rounds, Imada hung in there and finally found an opening he could capitalize on late in the third frame. With less than two minutes left in his tournament life, the Los Angeles resident took the American Top Team fighter's back and locked in a sick inverted triangle choke from a standing position. Masvidal tried to fight his way out, but he quickly fell into unconsciousness, bringing an end to his tournament run.
It will now be the tournament favorite Eddie Alvarez versus the tournament dark horse Toby Imada locking horns for the first ever Bellator lightweight tournament title sometime in the next seven weeks. And if tonight's action was any indication as to how that fight's going to play out, we should be prepared for an all out war.
In the featured non-tournament bout of the night, former Elite XC heavyweight standout Dave Herman and the mammoth 263-pound Josh Barnes slugged it out for nearly a full round before "Pee Wee" put an end to the big man's night with a brutal knee followed up by a barrage of strikes. With the win, the 24 year old Herman now moves his professional record to an impressive (14-1).
Check out the complete results for Bellator V below:
Lightweight Tournament Semifinal Bouts:
155 lbs.: Eddie Alvarez defeated Eric Reynolds via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:30 of round three
155 lbs.: Toby Imada defeated Jorge Masvidal via submission (inverted triangle choke) at 3:22 of round three
Non-Tournament Preliminary Bouts:
265 lbs.: Dave "Pee Wee" Herman defeated Josh Barnes via technical knockout (strikes) at 4:46 of round one
265 lbs.: Joey Beltran defeated Sherman Pendergarst via technical knockout (strikes) at 2:24 of round one
265 lbs.: Dan Evensen defeated Raoul Romero via submission (strikes) at 1:44 of round two
145 lbs.: Matt Jaggers defeated Pete Dominguez via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:03 of round one
117 lbs.: Jessica Pene defeated Tammie Schneider via technical knockout (strikes) at 1:35 of round one
170 lbs.: Justin Edwards defeated John Troyer via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:12 of round one
155 lbs.: Waylon Lowe defeated Frank Carabello via unanimous decision
Next week the Bellator Fighting Championships will head over to the Central Pavilion Arena at Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown, Texas for its sixth event of a twelve part series.
That card will feature the semifinal match ups from the 145-pound featherweight tournament. Former Elite XC champion Wilson Reis will square off against Joe "The Hammer" Soto for the right to face either Nick "The Ghost" Gonzalez or Estevan "El Terrible" Payan in the championship round.
***Update: Check out Imada's inverted triangle below -- sub of the year?