Santana-Cobb, Foster-Mann Official for Bellator 53 in Oklahoma


Nine fights are now official for Bellator Fighting Championships 53, as the Chicago-based promotion recently announced the addition of several new bouts to the Oct. 8 fight card.

Emanating from the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla., Bellator 53 will feature a middleweight contest between former Strikeforce talent Darryl Cobb and Brazilian submission specialist Giva Santana, as well as a featherweight tournament qualifier pitting British ace Ronnie Mann against Team Bombsquad product Kenny Foster.

Airing on MTV2 and Epix, the evening’s main draw will also feature the semifinals of Bellator’s fifth-season welterweight tournament, as Ben Saunders locks horns with Luis Santos and Chris Lozano meets Douglas Lima.

Additionally, the event will showcase a five-fight preliminary card, including a welterweight scrap between Rudy Bears and A.J. Matthews and a 140-pound contest pitting Zak Laird against Luis “Betao” Nogueira.

Streaming live on Spike.com, the undercard will also feature contests at light heavyweight, welterweight and a 157-pound catchweight, as the undefeated Myron Dennis meets M-1 veteran Raphael Davis, former Strikeforce Challengers talent Levi Avera faces two-time Bellator vet David Rickels and Tyron Woodley-protege Emanuel Brooks toes the line against the debuting Greg Scott.

Cobb heads into his meeting with Santana (Pictured) on the heels of back-to-back losses via rear-naked choke. Prior to those submission defeats to Bears and Rodney Collier, the middleweight had won five straight contests dating back to 2007.

Known as “The Arm Collector,” Santana is recognized for his aggressive pursuit of submissions, particularly the armbar, the method by which he has earned 12 of his 16 career wins. The once-beaten Brazilian’s only defeat came via split decision to Jaime Jara in 2007. Since that time, Santana has gone 5-0, most recently submitting former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall in just 29 seconds on Aug. 5.

Mann has won four of his last five bouts. Following a successful Bellator debut in April, the Englishman advanced to the semifinals of the promotion’s Summer Series featherweight tournament by knocking out Adam Schindler. The 24-year-old would advance no further in the bracket, however, as Mann fell by unanimous decision to eventual tournament winner Pat Curran in July’s semifinal.

A three-time Bellator vet, Foster has won two of his three contests in the promotion’s circular cage. “The Tooth Fairy” advanced to the semifinals of the organization’s fourth-season 145-pound tournament this past spring, finishing Eric Larkin with a guillotine choke at Bellator 37. Like Mann, Foster would also taste defeat in the second round of his bracket, as the 26-year-old was outpointed by Daniel Straus in April.

This item was updated Oct. 4 at 7:21 p.m. ET with additional information regarding the event’s undercard.

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