The Bellator Fighting Championships began airing on ESPN for their first season in April of 2009—in the beginning they struggled to get attention of the MMA world outside of the hardcore audience.
Then, at their fifth event in a lightweight tournament semifinal scrap between Jorge Masvidal and Toby Imada, everything changed.
The bout was controlled by the heavily favored Jorge Masvidal for the majority of the encounter until Toby Imada secured an inverted triangle choke that would win submission of the year 2009 and make Bellator FC a youtube sensation.
The following week the trend of the underdog continued—Estevan Payan was considered a heavy favorite to take home the featherweight tournament by many fight insiders, however he was stopped in his tracks by a highlight spinning back fist by opponent Yahir Reyes.
This was dubbed knockout of the year 2009, and to this day is one of the most viewed MMA clips on youtube.
A little over a year later and Bellator is hosting their 26th event just a few hours from now—here's why you should tune in each and every week.