American Top Team’s Ben Saunders continued his hot streak since parting ways with the UFC by picking up his fourth straight finish in four tries at Bellator 53, a win also netting him a spot in the promotion’s Season 5 welterweight tourney.
Saunders win came when he submitted Luis Santos in the third round of their semifinal bout using a Keylock. The stoppage was only the second time Santos has tapped out in a career featuring more than 55 fights. “Killa B” improved his record to 12-3-2 with six TKOs and five submissions.
Meeting Saunders in the tournament’s conclusion will be former teammate Douglas Lima who overcame an early storm from opponent Chris Lozano to land a perfectly placed strike in the second stanza and pick up the knockout win.
In addition to taking home a six-figure paycheck, the winner of their November match-up will face the Bellator welterweight champ down the road as well. Current title-holder Ben Askren faces Jay Hieron later this month at Bellator 56.
Here is a full rundown of Bellator 53 results:
Luis Nogueira def. Zak Laird via Submission Round 1 (Guillotine Choke)
David Rickels def. Levi Avera via Submission Round 2 (Triangle Choke)
Raphael Davis def. Myron Dennis via KO Round 2 (Left Hook)
A.J. Matthews def. Rudy Bears via Unanimous Decision
Giva Santana def. Darryl Cobb via Submission Round 1 (Armbar)
Emanuel Brooks def. Greg Scott via TKO Round 2 (Strikes)
Thiago Santos def. Josh Burns via Submission Round 1 (Rear Naked Choke)
Ronnie Mann def. Kenny Foster via Submission Round 1 (Triangle Choke)
Douglas Lima def. Chris Lozano via KO Round 2 (Punch)
Ben Saunders def. Luis Santos via Submission Round 3 (Keylock)
PHOTO CREDIT – BELLATOR