Imada OK after Violent Bellator KO

By Brian Knapp Apr 3, 2011
“Well,” Toby Imada said, “s--t happens.”

Not long after he was dismissed from the Bellator Fighting Championships Season 4 lightweight tournament in a violent knockout loss to Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, Imada (Pictured) faced the music. The 32-year-old Los Angeles native was left unconscious by a flying knee, two follow-punches and a left hook 2:53 into round one of his semifinal matchup with Freire at Bellator 39 on Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

“Patricky’s a strong guy,” Imada said. “I was really hoping for more of a battle. Stuff happens. It happens to everybody. We’re not made of steel, so to speak.”

A finalist in Bellator’s two previous lightweight tournaments, Imada’s bid for a third run was brutally snuffed out. Freire timed and delivered his knee perfectly, as Imada, barely conscious in a standing position, tiptoed backward on wobbly legs. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt tagged the submission specialist with two more power punches and leveled him with a searing left hook to the side of the head.

“I knew he liked boxing, so I was ready to do that, too,” said Imada, who was taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary evaluation. “Unfortunately, I got a little anxious, and I’m the one who left myself open. I was expecting a ground game. I knew he’d probably want to prove something by taking me down and submitting me.”

The defeat snapped a two-fight winning streak for Imada, who had never before been knocked flat. He did not hide his desire for a quick return to the cage.

“I’m ready for whatever you got for me next,” Imada said. “A few days off, right back to training, and whatever else is out there, whatever I find. Like I said, and I mean it: I’m ready for whatever they got next. Just give me something.”
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