Alvarez Kicks Off Bellator’s May Slate

By Brian Knapp May 1, 2009
Eddie Alvarez, one of the world’s elite 155-pound gladiators, will toe the line against upstart Eric Reynolds in the Bellator Fighting Championships lightweight tournament semi-finals at BFC 4 on Friday at the Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio.

Favored from the outset, Alvarez (16-2) bounced back from his submission loss to Shinya Aoki on New Year’s Eve and submitted Greg Loughran with a guillotine choke in the opening round of the Bellator draw last month. The charismatic 24-year-old has secured 14 of his 16 career wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission. Based out of the Fight Factory in Philadelphia, Pa., Alvarez holds stoppage victories against UFC veterans Aaron Riley and Derrick Noble and won two “Fight of the Year” candidates in 2008 -- the first against Joachim Hansen at Dream 3, the second against Tatsuya Kawajiri at Dream 5.

Reynolds (10-1), meanwhile, leveled TKO and Ultimate Warrior Challenge veteran Thomas Schulte with a first-round head kick and subsequent punches to secure his spot in the semi-finals. The Floridian has never experienced a second round in 11 professional bouts, having finished five of his 10 wins inside the first two minutes. Reynolds, who turned 23 in March, trains out of Champions MMA and David Vieira Jiu-Jitsu in Tampa, Fla.

In the other semi-final, American Top Team stalwart Jorge Masvidal will carry a three-fight winning streak into his showdown with Toby Imada.

Masvidal (17-3) stopped UFC veteran Nick Agallar with first-round punches in April to advance in the draw. The talented 24-year-old has won 11 of his last 12 bouts and was the first man to defeat popular UFC lightweight prospect Joe Lauzon. Masvidal also counts victories against Steve Berger, Yves Edwards and former International Fight League lightweight champion Ryan Schultz among his 17 conquests.

An 11-year mainstay in MMA, Imada has tested himself against some of the sport’s finest competitors, including former EliteXC welterweight king Jake Shields, one-time Icon Sport middleweight titleholder Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Hermes Franca and Joe Stevenson. The 29-year-old Californian submitted Alonzo Martinez with a first-round rear-naked choke to clinch his spot in the semis. Imada has rattled off seven consecutive wins.

Bellator’s busy slate does not end there.

The featherweight tournament semi-finals will play host to matchups pairing the fast-rising Wilson Reis with Joe Soto and Yahir Reyes with Estevan Payan at BFC 5 on May 8 at the Central Pavilion Arena in Robstown, Texas. Most see the undefeated Reis (7-0), a 24-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, as a prohibitive favorite.

The welterweight draw takes center stage at BFC 6 on May 15 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, as former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne meets Omar de la Cruz in one semi-final and Lyman Good locks horns with Jorge Ortiz in the other.

Menne (43-15-2) has posted consecutive wins since losing to Josh Koscheck and Luigi Fioravanti inside the UFC’s Octagon. An IFL and Ring of Combat veteran, the unbeaten Good (8-0) choked Hector Urbina unconscious in his Bellator debut on April 10.

Bellator Fighting Championships 4
Friday, May 1
Hara Arena
Dayton, Ohio

BFC Lightweight Tournament Semi-Finals

Eddie Alvarez vs. Eric Reynolds
Jorge Masvidal vs. Toby Imada

Non-Tournament Bouts
Dave Herman vs. Josh Barnes
Raoul Romero vs. Dan Evensen
Joey Beltran vs. Sherman Pendergarst
Matt Jaggers vs. Peter Dominguez
Frank Carabello vs. Waylon Lowe
Jessica Pene vs. Tammie Schneider
Justin Edwards vs. John Troyer
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