As with every major MMA show, Bloody Elbow will be here to bring you live results and commentary for Bellator 53. Our live blog will start with the beginning of the MTV2 broadcast (9 p.m. ET), so be sure to make Bloody Elbow your home for this event.
Also on the card, Ronnie Mann will go up against Kenny Foster in a featherweight bout. Mann is looking to bounce back from his decision loss to Pat Curran at Bellator 47, while Foster seeks redemption after being submitted by Daniel Straus at Bellator 41. To round out the main card, Thiago Santos will fight Josh Burns in a heavyweight battle to determine who will be the alternate for Bellator’s heavyweight tournament.
Aaaaannnnnd we are live with the card. Promo material playing right now and I am settled in to bring you the play by play.
157 lbs: Emanuel Brooks def. Greg Scott by KO at 2:40 of Round 2.
185 lbs: Giva Santana def. Darryl Cobb by submission (armbar) at 2:00 of Round 1.
175 lbs: A.J. Matthews def. Rudy Bears by unanimous decision.
204 lbs: David Rickels def. Levi Avera by submission (triangle) at 1:06 of Round 2.
140 lbs: Luis Nogueira def. Zak Laird by submission (guillotine) at 0:51 of Round 1.
Round 1: They touch gloves and quickly move into a clinch, with Santos having the slight advantage while slowly working for a takedown. Burns stays heavy during the single leg attempt, but goes down when Santos unexpectedly lets go. Back ride yields a few punches until Burns stands and Santos takes him back down from a back clinch. Santos riding the back of the turtled Burns. No hooks in, but a RNC being applied. And it's all over. Thiago Santos with the quick rear naked choke - with no hooks in - of Josh Burns. Kind of felt like Burns panicked a little bit and could have worked his way out, but that's it for the fight.
Final Result: Thiago Santos def. Josh Burns by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:23 of the first round.
If I were Ronnie Mann, I'd pick a nickname like "Stupendous". A Calvin & Hobbes reference will always win me over.
Round 1: Some savage kicks early on from both fighters, but nothing really landing. Foster catches a kick and goes for the takedown, but Mann fends him off very quickly. Foster does the same thing again, with success. Mann gets a triangle set-up and Foster shakes free. Up against the cage now, with Foster looking to punch free of Mann's control and triangle set-up again. Mann looking to sweep or to break Foster's posture wide open, but Foster passes to half guard. Mann is tight, so no damage is done. The fighters pause for a moment and the referee steps in quick to stand them up. Brief camera mishap causes us to miss what looks like a connecting kick from Mann. The pace seems to have slowed a bit, and no I am fooled. Foster fights for a takedown and lands in the guard of Mann. Yet another triangle set-up from Mann and it is locked on. Foster taps! The referee almost misses the tap, but finally gets there and Ronnie Mann is your winner by triangle in the waning moments of the first round. Mann had already angled himself to really get that triangle super-tight, which is why the tap came on so quick.
Final Result: Ronnie Mann def. Kenny Foster by submission (triangle) at 3:52 of the first round.
We get a preliminary fight in between.
Prelim Fight: Giva Santana vs. Darryl Cobb
Santana's nickname is the "Arm Collector", so I bet this one ends by armbar. Santana shoots is fended off. Both guys trade strikes, with Santana landing the leg kick and Cobb missing with the punch. Cobb misses with a flurry of punches. Santana lunges and misses with a left hook. Santana times a couple of punches from Cobb and gets the double leg takedown. Santana in side control, Cobb scrambles up only to yield his back and Santana goes for the armbar. Cobb tries to slam his way out and stand up, but it is locked on and Santana gets the tap from a belly down Cobb. Wow. Nice armbar from Giva Santana at 2:00 of Round 1.
These long commercial breaks are making me watch Bloomberg News. Yow.
Round 1: They touch gloves and get to establishing range. Lozano makes the first move and Lima responds. Nobody's landed anything et. Lima lands a left jab as Lozano comes in. Lima jab again and Lozano chases with a right hook that misses. Lima catches a kick that manages to ding his cup and they separate. Lima landing while evading Lozano's wilder strikes. Lozano takes advantage of great timing and a slip by Lima to try and mount more offense, but Lima fights his way back to the feet and chases. Lozano evades and both fighters look a bit touched up. An exciting pace, but not a ton of accuracy thus far. Lima with a good teep and jab combination, being the aggressor against the countering Lozano. The jab still landing for Lima and a flurry by Lima mostly connnects. They clinch and Lima delivers a knee to the thigh of Lozano. Lima takes Lozano down from the clinch and Lozano works his way back to the feet. Lima has a hook in and is maybe looking to take the back of the bent-over Lozano. Stalemate. Lima looks to get the better of the wild action to end the round. Lozano being very vocal as they break. I score it 10-9 for Lima.
Round 2: Lozano misses with a high kick, but lands a hesitant roundhouse kick to the body. Lima evading mostly thus far. Lozano picking it up and landing body kicks as well as punches to the circling Lima. Lozano landing better and the fight seems to have shifted to a boxing match with occasional kicks thrown in by Lozano. Lima hunting a counter left and lands one, but is chased away by Lozano. Lima lands a couple of clean, but lighter punches on Lozano's face. Body punch for Lima while Lozano lands a let jab to the head. Lima lands a gigantic right overhand to Lozano and Lozano is out! Lima took a very light jab, walked through it and landed a right straight exactly on Lozano's button. WHOOO! Bellator always delivers a highlight reel moment and this might be it for Bellator 53.
Final Result: Doug Lima def. Chris Lozano by spectacular KO at 3:14 of Round 2.
The fight between David Rickels and Levi Avera aired. It was a relatively sloppy affair, notable for Avera's multiple head wounds and Rickels's shifting from triangle to triangle for the finish.
Main event time! BloodyElbow's celebrated Ben Saunders takes on the tough Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo black belt, Luis Santos.
Luis Santos vs. Ben Saunders
Round 1: Fierce swings from Ben to open, Santos gets the quick double, but Ben stands most of the way up. Ben looking to burrow for an underhook, but Santos almost powers him back to the floor. Ben grabs the cage to avoid the single leg takedown (illegal). Action continues with Santos managing to turn a clinch into another flashy double leg takedown. Saunders pulls rubber guard with his right foot and gets wrist control with his left hand. A triangle of sorts is being applied, but I think Santos can work his way out or it's not tight. Santos chilling, his head is out and Saunders is working an omaplota while socking Santos in the face occasionally. Ben continues socking Santos in the head, while Santos works a way out of the omaplota. Santos keeping control of Ben's left foot while his left arm is still in the omaplota. Saunders punching through the opening in his legs to get Santos. They've worked their way into the middle of the cage and Santos is still preventing Saunders from turning into the omaplota fully. Santos seems to have gotten out of the omaplota now, hung out in a quasi-triangle set-up and now in full guard. Saunders pulls rubber guard and continuing to bop Santos in the face. Triangle is set-up again, with 25 seconds to go!. Santos is basically hanging on until the round ends and manages to get his head out again. I score it 10-9 for Saunders due to the active submission attempts and punches, while Santos had the takedowns and defended everything with a pretty nonchalant demeanor.
Round 2: Santos gets a takedown off another wild strike by Saunders. More action in the rubber guard of Saunders. Same triangle set-up, same pulling of the head and Santos manages to change things slightly by going with the omaplota. Saunders keeps control and puts him back in the triangle, while grinning at the crowd and cameras. More punches to the head of Santos while he's in the triangle. Santos again escapes from the triangle and is stuck in the omaplota. Saunders no longer really looking to finish the omaplota and is content to keep bopping away at Santos. Now Ben moves up and reddens Santos's ribs with a few hammerfists, while looking to get ahold of Santos's left wrist. Santos continuing to block the achievement of wrist control with his leg and now Sanuders moves to finish the omaplota! Saunders punching Santos and looking to finish the the omaplota! Somehow Santos toughs it out and moves to bottom guard on Saunders. Saunders now being active from the top of Santos's guard. Can opener being applied by Ben. A couple of good punches, but Santos controlling Ben and preventing the mounting of damaging offense. 10-9 Saunders, but very close to being 10-8 for a while.
Round 3: They touch gloves to open. Santos shoots in after a lunging right straight by Ben. Saunders sprawls, while Santos goes for a leglock. Saunders fends it off well and ends up in a whizzer/halfguard situation. Santos pulls deep halfguard and Ben looks to flatten and control Santos. Saunders looking to move into mount while threatening a kimura. Santos in a kimura, but may be able to tough it out and avoid the tap on pure strength. The ref stops it! Kimura in the third round for Ben Saunders. Impressive display from Saunders of overwhelming strength combined with a good sense of when and how to attack Santos.
Final Result: Ben Saunders def. Luis Santos by submission (kimura) at 1:35 of Round 3.
It will be Doug Lima vs Ben Saunders in the welterweight tournament final in a battle for that big ol' check and the title shot against Ben Askren.