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Richard Hale Learned Inverted Triangle Choke Night Before Bellator Fight

Bellator light heavyweight Richard Hale is a quick learner. When Hale submitted his opponent Nik Fekete with an inverted triangle choke a week ago at Bellator 38, it was a move he had learned of just the night before.

Hale's inverted triangle was the second seen in Bellator. The first, performed by Toby Imada on the fifth Bellator card in 2009, is arguably the most talked-about moment in the promotion's history.

"It was just fresh in my mind," Hale said Monday on The MMA Hour. "What Bellator does is they play their highlight clips for best 10 knockouts, 10 best submissions, whatever at the weigh-ins that night before and so we were just watching that, me and my boxing coach were just like, "Wow, that was real smooth! Very clean move, nice technique, everything else and it was a great way to end the fight."

What made Hale's execution of the move unique is his size. Imada competes in the 155-pound division, while Hale stands at 6-foot-4 and fights at 205 pounds. Although Hale says he likes to use his flexibility at his size to his advantage and the triangle choke is one of his favorite moves to use when it comes to his jiu-jitsu game, he had never practiced the move in training.

"Once I was in that position it was always about control until I realized, 'Hey, if I could spread out his leg I could definitely choke this guy out,'" Hale said. "Which you could see is exactly what I did."

Hale recalled being in awe at the moment and it wasn't until his opponent fell to the mat in an unconscious state when Hale realized how real the sequence was. The adrenaline rush would last through the next morning.

"I couldn't even sleep [that night]," Hale said. "I don't think I went to bed until about one o'clock in the morning and I had interview stuff the morning and I think I was up by 5. Had nothing else to do, didn't know what to do, I definitely wasn't tired. I had to get myself a coffee just to have something to do."

After spending the past five years on smaller shows, Hale was fighting live on television for the first time at Bellator 38.

"It was definitely a very long time on the local circuit, waiting for that opportunity," Hale said. "Thanks to Bellator for opening that door up just a little bit just to let me in. I felt that once I got that national exposure, got that chance, I definitely was going to make a statement."

With the win, Hale advances in Bellator's light heavyweight tournament to meet D.J. Linderman at Bellator 42 on April 23 for a shot at becoming Bellator's first 205-pound champion.

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