Bellator Fighting Championships returns TONIGHT (Oct. 8, 2011) to the Buffalo Run Hotel & Casino in Miami, Okla., with the continuation of the promotion's season five welterweight tournament as the promotion holds its semifinals.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of Bellator 53 below, beginning with the MTV2 telecast at 9 p.m. ET. In addition, we'll deliver up-to-the-minute quick results of all the undercard action much earlier in the evening.
Headlining the main card will be a strong bout between stand up specialists Ben Saunders and Luis Santos. Saunders is a Muay Thai wrecking machine, while Santos possesses solid kickboxing skills and a strong submission game. The other semifinal match up will be an intriguing bout between Cleveland's own heavy-hitting Chris Lozano and Douglas Lima, a submission specialist with an improving striking game.
They will be joined by two main card fights, one features two semifinalists of previous featherweight tournaments in Ronnie Mann and Kenny Foster, both scrappy young strikers that are capable on the ground. The other bout will be a heavyweight alternate fight between two giants in Josh Burns and Thiago Santos. Both men will be battling to potentially replace Mike Hayes, who was issued a 60-day suspension after defeating Neil Grove last week in the heavyweight tournament quarterfinals.
Complete Bellator 53 results and play-by-play are after the jump:
170 lbs.: Ben Saunders def. Luis Santos via submission (keylock) at 1:45 Round 3
170 lbs.: Douglas Lima def. Chris Lozano via knockout at 3:14 Round 2
145 lbs.: Ronnie Mann def. Kenny Foster via submission (triangle choke) at 3:59 Round 1
265 lbs.: Thiago Santos def. Josh Burns via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:23 Round 1
Local Feature Fights (Spike.com)
157 lbs.: Emanuel Brooks def. Greg Scott via TKO at 2:40 Round 2
185 lbs.: Giva Santana def. Darryl Cob via submission (armbar) at 2:00 Round 1
175 lbs.: A.J. Matthews def. Rudy Bears via unanimous decision
204 lbs.: Raphael Davis def. Myron Dennis via knockout at 0:29 Round 2
170 lbs.: David Rickels def. Levi Avera via submission (triangle choke) at 1:06 Round 2
140 lbs.: Luis Nogueira def. Zak Laird via submission (guillotine choke) at 0:51 Round 1
Hemmi here, I'll be giving the full play-by-play of the main card tonight.
170 lbs.: Ben Saunders vs. Luis Santos
Round one: Saunders catches Santos early and makes him slip and Santos dives into Saunders looking for the takedown. Santos lifts Saunders up he fends off the takedown by grabbing the top of the fence. He lifts Saunders up again and puts him on his back. Saunders defends with the rubber guard. Saunders lifts his legs up for a triangle choke and he's got Santos in trouble but Santos pops his head free. Saunders has an omaplata on Santos' left arm. Santos is defending but he can't get his arm free. Saunders throws strikes from the bottom and looks like he's going to transition to a triangle or an armbar and Santos slips free. Saunders brings up his legs in the rubber guard and he latches on a reverse triangle again. Santos is trying to hold on and he survives to the end of the round. 10-9 Saunders. He was much more active from the bottom than Santos was from above.
Round two: Santos scores a takedown early but Saunders again puts him right into his rubber guard and attacks with an omaplata. Saunders latches on a Kimura but Santos rolls free. Saunders immediately transitions to a triangle choke and he's pounding away on Santos from the bottom. Saunders agani attacks the arm with an omaplata and he's got Santos' arm wrenched. Saunders pounds away from the bottom, I don't think Santos has thrown one strike from top position, he's just had to defend these submissions. Saunders sweeps Santos with the omaplata and starts dropping ground and pound. Santos' arm is still trapped, he's getting dominated by Saunders here. Santos rolls over into full guard and Saunders drops some light ground and pound for the final minute of the round. 10-9 Saunders.
Round three: They don't stay standing for long and the fight winds up on the ground again. Saunders takes top position in half guard and he avoids the sweep attempts from Santos. Saunders latches on a keylock and he torques Santos' arm badly, he keeps cranking and Santos taps! Phenomenal display of offensive grappling from Ben Saunders!
170 lbs.: Chris Lozano vs. Douglas Lima
Round one: Lima and Lozano meet in the center of the cage sizing each other up. Lozano lands a low kick but the ref tells them to continue. Both men exchange punches and each gets tagged. Lozano tags Lima with a big right hand and Lima goes down. Lozano swarms him but Lima recovers and pops to his feet connecting with a right hand on the way up. Lima takes the center of the cage, stalking Lozano and he conencts with a big combination. Lozano tries to counter but Lima closes the distance with a clinch. Lima takes Lozano's back standind and tries to throw him down but Lozano comes back with a big bomb of his own. Lozano is bloodied up as the round ends and he jaws at Lima after the bell. 10-9 Lima
Round two: They circle each other early looking to land big strikes, Lozano wades in trying to knee Lima in the clinch. Lozano clips him with a right hand and both men trade blows. Lima uses his range well, landing some big straight punches and then a pair of leg kicks. Lozano lands a left counter and he's really looking to take advantage of Lima's openings. Lima lunges in and BLASTS Lozano with a HUGE straight right and Lozano goes down! He's out cold and that's it! WOW! What a knockout by Douglas Lima!
Final Result: Douglas Lima defeats Chris Lozano via knockout at 3:14 of round two
145 lbs.: Ronnie Mann vs. Kenny Foster
Round one: Both men size each other up and Mann throws a pair of head kicks. Mann slips through with a lead left hand and both men clinch in the center of the cage. Mann connects with a big right hand and Foster takes him down. Mann attempts a triangle but Foster stands up and forces him to give up the submission. Foster dives back into Mann's guard along the fence. Mann brings his legs up, threatening with the submission but Foster avoids it and looks for a guillotine. After a stall, the ref stands them up. Foster shoots in for another takedown and gets it. Mann brings his legs up and latches on a triangle choke. He turns to his side to tighten it up and Foster is forced to tap!
Final Result: Ronnie Mann defeats Kenny Foster via submission (triangle choke) at 3:59 of round one
265 lbs.: Thiago Santos vs. Josh Burns
Round one: Burns takes the center of the cage but Santos presses him against the fence. Santos throws some short knees to Burns' thigh. Santos grabs a leg looking for the takedown and he takes Burns down. Burns works his way to his feet but Santos remains behind him and drags him to the canvas. Santos doesn't have hooks in but he sneaks his arm under Burns' neck and forces the tap.
Final Result: Thiago Santos defeats Josh Burns via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:23 of round one