Bellator 53 took place last night (October 8, 2011) from the Buffalo Run Hotel & Casino in Miami, Oklahoma and if fans skipped out to watch the big pay-per-view last night, they missed on hell of a show.
Santos immediately shot in for a takedown and eventually slammed the taller, rangier Saunders to the ground but that was about all the offense he was able to put up. Ben Saunders did a tremendous job of fighting off his back, really working the rubber guard with his long legs, threatening with reverse triangles, omaplatas and keeping Santos on the defensive throughout the fight.
Round two was similar except Saunders was even more aggressive off his back, throwing strikes and eventually sweeping Santos with a nasty Kimura and repeated omaplata attacks. By the final frame, "Killa B" had worn Santos down and after taking top position, he impressively forced the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to tap out to an old school keylock.
It was a dominant performance by Saunders despite being taken down and it was a perfect example of how to win rounds off your back.
Saunders now advances to the finals of the Bellator season five welterweight tournament and the man he'll be facing in the finals may have one-upped him in terms of impressive finishes.
Douglas Lima battled Chris Lozano in the other welterweight tournament semifinal and this bout was even more thrilling. Lima, despite getting dropped by "The Cleveland Assassin" in the first round, was able to outpoint Lozano and open up a cut under his left eye.
In round two, Lozano was out for blood, and he left himself a little too open while aggressively pressing the action and "The Phenom" took full advantage. When Lozano left himself hanging, Lima threw one of the nastiest straight right hands you'll ever see and knocked the Strong Style fighter clean out with one punch. This finish will surely be the "Bellator moment" of the week
With the win, Lima advances to the season five welterweight tournament finals against Ben Saunders for the right to challenge for the Bellator championship and win $100,000.
Also on the main card was a Bellator season six featherweight tournament qualifier match between 2011 tournament semifinalists Ronnie Mann and Kenny Foster. Foster got in Mann's face and took him down multiple times but he bit off more than he could chew when Mann latched on a triangle choke. After turning to tighten the hold, he forced a tap in the first round.
Ronnie Mann is the first qualifier for the Bellator season six featherweight tournament which will take place in 2012.
Opening the main card was a heavyweight attraction featuring two seriously big men. Both Thiago Santos and Josh Burns tipped the scales over 260 pounds but it was Santos who had the advantage. "Big Monster" took Burns down and pounded on him, eventually scoring a rear naked choke victory from Burns' back just before the midway point of the first round.
For complete Bellator 53 results and detailed round-by-round commentary of all the televised fights click here.
So did you get to catch any of the action, Maniacs?