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Huerta vs. Curran, Imada vs. Vanier Lightweight Semifinals Set for Bellator 17

Toby ImadaThe semifinal matchups for Bellator’s season two lightweight tournament are now set, as Roger Huerta will face Pat Curran and Toby Imada will meet Carey Vanier on May 6 in Boston at Bellator 17, which is headlined by a non-title ‘super fight’ between lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez and UFC veteran Josh Neer.

Bellator’s press release announcing the matchups is below:

Bellator Fighting Championships founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney announced today that Roger Huerta will face rising star Pat Curran while “Submission of the Year” title holder Toby Imada will face Carey Vanier at Bellator’s May 6th event at the Wang Theatre in Boston.

The two fights comprise the semifinal round of Bellator’s ongoing Season 2 lightweight (155 lbs.) tournament. The winners of each fight will face each other in the Season 2 finals in June with the winner of that fight earning the right to face Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez in a title bout.

Rebney made the announcement today at an afternoon press conference at the Wang Theatre, where he was joined by Curran and Alvarez, whose much-anticipated Bellator Super Fight with former UFC contender Josh Neer headlines the May 6th Boston card.

Alvarez’s Super Fight against. Neer could not come at a better time for the Bellator champion. Just two weeks ago, Alvarez (19-2) was the consensus No. 3 lightweight in the world behind B.J. Penn and Shinya Aoki. With Penn and Aoki both losing over the last week, Alvarez has an opportunity on national television to establish himself as the world’s top-ranked lightweight. First, though, Alvarez has to get past powerful UFC veteran Neer with his 27-9-1 career record and KO power in both hands.

Huerta (21-3-1) is a former UFC lightweight contender who is the only MMA fighter in history to be pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He signed a long-term contract with Bellator this winter and won his first fight via third round kneebar submission versus the previously undefeated Chad Hinton on April 8th at Bellator 13.

Curran (10-3) is the cousin of MMA pioneer Jeff Curran. He burst onto the national MMA scene at Bellator 14 last Thursday with a spectacular KO of the previously undefeated Mike Ricci that soon became Bellator’s latest “YouTube moment.” In just five days, the clip has already been viewed online more than 65,000 times.

Imada (24-13) is a longtime MMA veteran who gained the most notoriety of his career thanks to his stunning inverted triangle choke submission of Jorge Masvidal at Bellator 5 last spring. Though he fell to Eddie Alvarez in the Bellator Season 1 lightweight finals, he made an auspicious return to the Season 2 with a dominant performance over WEC veteran James Krause at Bellator 14.

Vanier (8-2) is a former all-American wrestler at Minnesota’s Augsburg College (also Huerta’s alma mater) who made an impressive Bellator debut at Bellator 13 with a TKO of MMA veteran Joe Duarte.

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Pictured: Toby Imada


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