Bellator, Reis Hit Lone Star State

By Brian Knapp May 8, 2009
Former EliteXC bantamweight champion Wilson Reis will put his unblemished record on the line when he meets Joe Soto in the Bellator Fighting Championships featherweight tournament semi-finals at BFC 6 on Friday at the Central Pavilion Arena in Robstown, Texas.

Based out of Daddis Martial Arts in Philadelphia, Reis (7-0) advanced to the semi-final round with a unanimous decision victory against the previously unbeaten Henry Martinez at BFC 2 in April. The 24-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt defeated Abel Cullum by unanimous decision to capture EliteXC’s vacant bantamweight crown in September 2008, but the promotion folded before he ever had the opportunity to defend it. One of the sport’s top young talents, Reis won three of his first four professional bouts by submission.

Also unbeaten but far less heralded, Soto (5-0) has yet to be pushed past the first round and has finished three of his five opponents in 1:08 or less. A Palace Fighting Championship veteran, he stopped Canadian Ben Greer on first-round strikes at the BFC premiere on April 3. A decorated amateur wrestler, the 22-year-old Soto was a teammate of UFC prospects Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez at Iowa Central Community College.

Rage in the Cage veteran Estevan Payan will lock horns with Yahir Reyes in the other featherweight semi-final.

Based out of Arizona Combat Sports, Payan (7-1) will carry a two-fight winning streak into the match. The 27-year-old Iraq War veteran moved into the semi-final round with a split-decision victory against Luis Palomino at BFC 1. A father of five, Payan has never been finished in eight career bouts.

Reyes (13-5, 1 NC) has rattled off five wins in a row -- four of them finishes -- and secured his spot in the semis when he submitted EliteXC veteran Nick Gonzalez with a first-round rear-naked choke in April. The 23-year-old Mexican, having fought as a professional since he was 17, has never been knocked out.

BFC 6, which also features seven non-tournament bouts, will air on ESPN Deportes at 11 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Bellator Fighting Championships 6
Friday, May 8
Central Pavilion Arena
Robstown, Texas

Thursday Weigh-in Results

BFC Featherweight Tournament Semi-Finals
Wilson Reis vs. Joe Soto
Yahir Reyes vs. Estevan Payan

Non-Tournament Bouts
Nick Gonzalez vs. Luis Palomino
Hector Munoz vs. Diego Garijo
Rodney Sleepers vs. Sergio Moraes
Daniel Pineda vs. Roberto Vargas
Travis Lamb vs. Dustin Phillips
Robert McDaniel vs. Prince Mclean
Hector Urbina vs. Ira Boyd
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