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Ben Saunders earns spot in tournament final with success at Bellator 53

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)


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