When Bellator Fighting Championships released the brackets for their first lightweight tournament almost everyone looked forward to an eventual final between Eddie Alvarez and Jorge Masvidal.

One of the few people not interested in the match up was Toby Imada. In the end he actually inserted himself into that final with a brilliant submission hold also known as the ProMMA.info Submission of 2009.

On May 1, 2009, Toby Imada faced off with Jorge Masvidal for a chance to fight for the Bellator lightweight championship. Throughout the first two rounds, and most of the third, Masvidal basically landed at will. He seemingly had the answer for all of Imada’s offense.

Late in the third Imada defended a takedown by locking on an inverted triangle choke. Masvidal stood up to defend. Moments later he lost consciousness and collapsed. Imada won the fight in the most decisive manner possible.

The submission hold is truly unique. However, in a year that saw submissions like scissor legs, neck crucifixes and twisters, it still stands out. A submission hold that comes out of nowhere and turns the tide of a fight is one of the reasons fans love MMA.

To put it bluntly, Imada’s performance separates MMA from its ridiculous reputation. Sports Illustrated recently described the sport as “two tattooed dudes beating the bejesus out of each other.” Someone should tell whoever wrote that to Google the name Toby Imada.

Bellator, a promotion no one really expected to thrive, ran with the performance. They loaded the video on YouTube and it quickly appeared everywhere in the MMA blogosphere.

It doesn’t matter that Imada lost in the finals to Eddie Alvarez. MMA fans will always have the memory of his submission. Imada, himself, will always be the winner of ProMMA.info’s submission of 2009 award.

Be sure to check out the rest of the awards
ProMMA.info Breakthrough Fighter of 2009: Muhammed Lawal
ProMMA.info Disappointment of 2009: Josh Barnett

More coming soon!

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