By FCF Staff
Just days after Bellator announced that Steve Carl would meet Jay Hieron in the opening round of the promotion’s welterweight tourney on March 5th, the organization has confirmed that Carl has been forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury. Anthony Lapsley (pictured) has been named his replacement for the Bellator 35 card.
“While the Steve Carl injury was devastating to hear, I’m excited for the opportunity Anthony is getting with Bellator,” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney.
Lapsley (19-4) will head into the tourney having won 4 straight bouts; the former collegiate wrestler and 31 year-old-fighter is coming off a submission win over Ted Worthington last July.
“This is what I've been waiting on my entire career,” said Lapsley. “I've been waiting for the opportunity to make some good money, for one, and also to finally get the recognition I deserve. I've put in some work in the game and I've been through my struggles and ups and downs, but I feel like I'm ready to take it to the next level and make it happen for the family. Winning this tournament is going to change my life, and change my kids lives.”
“Jay [Hieron] is actually a fighter I've always enjoyed watching, I just never thought I'd have the opportunity to fight him,” said Lapsley. “It's going to be a war. It's going to be a war because I'm going to make it a war. He's been on some big shows and fought some really tough guys, but it's my turn now.”
Bellator 35 will take place at the Taichi Palace and Casino in Leemoore, California on March 5th, and will be broadcast live on MTV 2.
In other Bellator news, the promotion has announced that Toby Imada (28-15) will make a run at winning the lightweight tourney for a third time. The Judo black belt has advanced to the tourney finals twice now, but failed to deliver victories against current champ Eddie Alvarez, and more recently, Pat Curran.
“Toby’s been just one win away for the last two Lightweight Tournaments. He consistently brings a ‘go for broke’ attitude to the cage and is always looking for the finish,” said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “This Lightweight tournament is stacked; we have a great mix of new fighters and veterans in the field, which will make for some great fights.”
The lightweight tourney is set to get underway next month, and like all Season 4 action from Bellator, it will be broadcast on MTV 2.
“I'm a little annoyed, I have a little bit of a mean streak going on right now, a little more of a fire under my butt this time around,” said Imada. “I'm definitely going to be meaner and more aggressive. I'm ready to go out there and give it my all. I'm tired of being the guy that comes up short and doesn't live up to what people expect from him. I'm going to give it all I have this time around, believe me. I'm going to be mean.”