100% Reviewed
Top 10 Best Fighters (20 Total):
1. David Rickels - 93.0
2. E.J. Brooks - 93.0
3. Ben Saunders - 92.7
4. Giva Santana - 92.4
5. Douglas Lima - 92.1
6. Ronnie Mann - 92.0
7. Raphael Davis - 91.9
8. Luis Alberto Nogueira - 91.8
9. Thiago Santos (Bellator) - 90.2
10. A.J. Matthews - 89.7
Bellator 53: Saunders vs. Santos
Location: Miami, Oklahoma
Elevation: 797'
-Fight of the Night-
Ben Saunders vs. Luis Santos
Fighters & Matches 88.4
Top 10 Fighters 91.9
TOTAL 90.2
(Guillotine Choke)
     These guys were trading strikes at a fast pace, Nogueira picked up Laird, slammed him to the ground, passed his guard, grabbed a guillotine choke, nearly ripped Laird's head off, as he forced the submission in under one minute of the first round.
(Triangle Choke)
      These guys clinched early, and Avera pulled guard. From there, Rickels beat him up with short elbows on the ground. The referee eventually stood them back up with 2 minutes left in the opening round. Avera immediately shot in for a takedown attempt, but Rickels showed some great balance, staying on his feet, even after being lifted in the air. Avera shot for another takedown, and Rickels stuffed it, ending up on top, where he continued to bloody up Avera's head with punches. The referee stood them up again with 20 seconds left in the round. The referee then paused the fight to have the doctor check on the cut. It was a pretty brutal looking cut above Avera's left eye, but the doctor said he could continue. Nothing else happened before the end of the round.
     Rickels continued to pick apart Avera with punches & kicks to start the second round, Avera shot in for a takedown, and Rickels blasted him with an illegal knee while Avera was on the ground, so the fight was paused. The referee took a point from Rickels, and the fight continued. The fight started back up, Avera continued to look for another takedown, Rickels blasted him with some brutal elbows on his way in, Rickels then locked on a tight triangle choke, transitioned to an armbar, and then back to a triangle choke, finishing the fight in just over one minute of the second round. That was a pretty awesome one-sided performance by David Rickels.
      This fight was all about the dirty boxing, with both guys clinching, and throwing uppercuts to start the first round. Davis controlled the first half of the round, but when they broke apart, Dennis was able to blast Davis in the face with some big punches, before Davis was able to initiate the clinch again, which lead to a takedown against the cage by Davis. Davis spent the rest of the round on top, beating up Dennis on the ground. I gave the first round to Davis.
     The second round started the same way as the first, with some possible dirty boxing, followed by Davis BLASTING Dennis in the chin with a hard left hook, knocking him on his ass, 100% unconscious. Davis them hammered him with one massive right hand to the chin on the ground before the referee could officially stop the fight. That was a solid performance for Davis, getting back on the winning track.
      Matthews slammed Bears in the first round, and then continued to take him down repeatedly, controlling the entire first round with his wrestling. Matthews pretty much beat up Bears for the entire second round as well, all while controlling him with his wrestling. I'm starting to see Bears throw the same combinations over and over again in all of his fights, making him very predictable. Bears might have won that third round, just from being more active, but neither fighter really did any damage in the third round. In the end, I scored the fight 29-28 for A.J. Matthews, and all 3 judges agreed, giving him the unanimous decision victory.
      Santana clearly wanted nothing to do with the striking game, as he immediately shot in for a shitty single ankle takedown, which Cobb slipped away from. Cobb tried to throw a few punches, but it wasn't long before Santana was able to take him down, he grabbed his back, Cobb tried to roll out of it, and Santana nearly ripped Cobb's arm off with a slick armbar. Cobb tried to slam his way out of it, but it was only a matter of seconds before Cobb was forced to tap. Solid Bellator debut for Giva Santana.
      Scott threw a kick to the body to start this fight. Brooks immediately clinched, and threw Scott to the ground, where Brooks slid into full mount. Scott gave up his back to defend against a possible arm-triangle, and Brooks tried to rip his head off with a rear-naked choke, so Scott rolled to his back again. Brooks beat him up from half mount for a few seconds, before going for a guillotine, and then going back to the ground & pound. Brooks sat on Scott's face, and then went for a Kimura, ending up on Scott's back again. All of this so far has been in the first 2 minutes of the opening round. Brooks continued to maul Scott on the ground, throwing him around like a ragdoll, and smashing his skull in with massive strikes. Brooks looked like a trained killer in that opening round. Brooks finished the round with a tight rear-naked choke locked on from full back mount. 10-8 round for Brooks.
     The second round took place on the feet, with both guys boxing at a slow pace (compared to the opening round), until Brooks clinched with Scott against the cage. Brooks threw Scott to the ground, mounted him, punched him in the face a lot, Scott tried to roll to escape, and Brooks continued to smash his face in. Scott can take a beating, but he didn't show much offense in this fight at all. Around the halfway mark of the second round, Brooks finished the fight via TKO with some brutal punches from the mount. E.J. Brooks is a madman, and I'm definitely looking forward to checking out more of his fights after this one.
(Rear-Naked Choke)
      This fight was kind of boring. Santos immediately shot in for a single leg takedown, Burns defended with some short strikes, but Santos eventually pulled him down to the ground. Once they were on the ground, Santos clubbed away at the head of Burns from behind, eventually locking on the rear-naked choke for the submission victory. Nice win for Santos I guess, but I wasn't really into this fight at all.
(Triangle Choke)
      Ronnie Mann started strong, landing some solid punches & kicks, and then Foster took him to the ground, but ended up stuck inside Mann's guard. Mann immediately started working for a triangle choke, and he looked like quicksand, as Foster kept getting sucked deeper and deeper into the choke. Foster somehow broke free, and landed some decent strikes, and then went for a guillotine, sort of... The referee then stood them up out of boredom. I don't know if that was necessary, but whatever... They traded a few strikes, there was a wild scramble, Foster secured another takedown, and once again got sucked into Mann's guard. Mann slapped on a triangle choke, threw a few elbows, locked the choke on a little tighter, and Foster was forced to tap wildly, until the referee finally saw he was tapping, at which point he stopped the fight to save him. Really solid performance by Ronnie Mann.
      Both of these guys showed some decent striking skills in the first round, trading punches & leg kicks, with Lima moving forward for most of the round, and when they clinched, it looked like Lima had a slightly stronger clinch game. The second round was sort of a slow paced boxing match, where they were trading power shots, and trying to pick their openings to attack. Just past the 3 minute mark, Lima dropped Lozano with a MASSIVE right hand, knocking him the fuck out, and causing him to smash into the canvas face first. Awesome KO victory for Douglas Lima.
      This was an interesting semi-final match, with Santos spending the first half of hte first round trying to take Saunders to the ground, wasting all kinds of energy, but finally, he succeeded, and fell immediately into the rubber guard of Saunders, which lead to a triangle choke / omoplata that Saunders spent the last half of the round working for. The second round was the exact same thing, but this time, Saunders threw a kick, and slipped, so Santos jumped into his guard on the ground, and Saunders didn't even try to defend the takedown, he just went straight to his rubber guard, looking for various submissions for pretty much the duration of the round. I don't know why Santos thought it would be a good idea to stay on the ground after the way the first round turned out, but yeah, Saunders dominated him for both of the first two rounds on the ground. Santos shot for a takedown to start the third round, and Saunders sprawled, ending up on top of Santos. Santos was looking for a leg lock of some sort, but he never got close to finishing it, instead, Saunders started working toward an arm-triangle, but gave it up, in favor of a keylock, which he used to finish the fight via submission fairly early in the third round. Another really nice win for Ben Saunders.