Bellator Fighting Championships announced today that 9-1 featherweight standout Wilson Reis will return for Bellator’s Season 2 featherweight tournament looking to avenge his Season 1 loss to Bellator Champion Joe Soto.
The 25-year-old Reis is a back belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and, in 2008, took home the first-ever EliteXC bantamweight championship belt with his win over “The Silent Assassin,” Abel Cullum. Despite entering Bellator Season 1 as the No 1 tournament favorite and the No. 7 ranked featherweight in the world, Reis fell in the semi-final round to the upstart Soto. It was considered by many as the upset of the tournament and was the first and only loss of Reis’ career.
“Wilson’s a very talented fighter at 145 and was just one judge’s decision away from advancing to the featherweight championship fight last season,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “The Soto-Reis fight was one of the best fights in a season of great fights and the chance to potentially see a rematch between these two would be awesome. But first. Wilson has to get through a gauntlet of great fighters at 145. Plain and simple with Wilson’s addition, our featherweight tournament is stacked.”
Reis is the sixth confirmed competitor in Bellator’s upcoming eight-man Season 2 featherweight tournament, joining Joe Warren, Patricio Pitbull, Georgi Karakhanyan, William Romero and Bao Quach. Combined, the six fighters boast a remarkable career record of 57-12-2.
Bellator will also conduct tournaments at 155, 170 and 185 lbs. during Season 2, which begins April 8th on FOX Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo. The winners in each division will be declared No. 1 contenders to the current roster of champions.
Reis was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, known worldwide as a breeding ground for young Jiu-Jitsu fighters.
He trained under the famed Jiu-Jitsu coach Roberto Godoi and first made a name for himself while still a teenager, winning the 2004 Jiu-Jitsu World Championships. Later that same year, he came to the United States to continue his Jiu-Jitsu training at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu United gym in Jenkintown, Penn., working construction during the day to make ends meet.
About two years later, he began to take up an interest in MMA and started expanding his training to include boxing, grappling and Muay Thai, moving to the Daddis Fight Camps in Philadelphia. He took his first professional MMA fight in July 2007.
“After that first fight, I knew MMA was going to be my sport,” Reis said. “I knew I could be very successful.”
Since then, he has amassed an impressive 9-1 overall record with his lone defeat coming at the hands of the aforementioned Soto.
“More than anything, I want to get my rematch against Joe Soto,” Reis said. “I’m a lot more mature now as a fighter and an athlete … a lot more prepared than I was before.”