Cuban Olympic Medalist Alexis Vila Signs On For Bellator Season 5
CHICAGO, Ill. (May 17, 2011) â€” Bellatorâ€™s Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament is starting to take shape as wrestling Olympian turned professional knockout artist Alexis â€œThe Exorcistâ€ Vila has been added to the eight man tournament starting in September. Vila will join fellow bantamweights Eduardo Dantas, Chase Beebe, Marcos Galvao, Luis Nogueira, Ed â€œWildâ€ West, and Bellator Featherweight World Champion Joe Warren, who will be dropping down to bantamweight, as confirmed participants in the upcoming tournament.
â€œWith fighters like Joe Warren, Eduardo Dantas, Marcos Galvao, Chase Beebe, Luis, Ed and now Alexis, this bantamweight tournament is absolutely loaded next season.â€ said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. â€œVila is a wrestling Olympian that knocks his opponents out, and that makes him huge problem for anyone he fights.â€
Born in Cuba, Vila joins Bellator with a spotless 9-0 record, including finishes in eight of his nine fights (6 KOâ€™s, 2 submissions). A two-time Freestyle Wrestling World Champion, Vila represented Cuba in the 1996 Olympic Games, earning a bronze medal in freestyle wrestling. Shortly after the victory, Vila moved to the United States and quickly established himself as one of the premier collegiate wrestling instructors in the country, including training UFC veterans Rashad Evans and Gray Maynard at Michigan State. While only standing at 5â€™4, Vila certainly isnâ€™t short on confidence.
â€œI feel like I_m the best bantamweight in the world right now,â€ said Vila. â€œI have everything. I have all the training and all the tools. People don_t even know. Nobody has the stand-up that I have, the wrestling I have, or the strength that I have.â€
While reigning Bellator Bantamweight World Champion Zack Makovsky will be watching the tournament closely, Vila isnâ€™t concerned about any opponents that may stand in his way on the way to the Bellator Bantamweight Title.
â€œI_m not worried about any of the guys I_m going to fight in the future,â€ said Vila. â€œWhen they fight me, they_re going to find out that it_s a different story. I_m not the same guys they_ve fought before. When they feel how strong I am and how strong I punch, they_re going to change their mind really fast. So I_m not worried about Joe Warren, or Zack Makovsky, or any of these guys â€“ they have to worry about me.â€
Vila_s addition to the Bellator roster makes him the fourth Olympian currently calling the promotion home. Vila joins his good friend and current Bellator Middleweight World Champion Hector Lombard, a Cuban Judo Olympian; Bellator Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren, a U.S. Freestyle Wrestling Olympian; and Bellator Season 4 Welterweight Tournament Finalist Rick Hawn, a U.S. Judo Olympian.
â€œI_m here at Bellator to take the belt. I_m not here to play games. I feel like that belt_s already mine, now I just have to fight to get it, and I_m not worried about nobody,â€ said Vila. â€œI_m here at Bellator to become a World Champion, and to be recognized as the best bantamweight fighter in the world.â€
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