Giva Santana (standing) is headed to the Bellator cage in 2011. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood
Bellator Fighting Championships has signed Brazilian submission specialist Giva Santana to a multi-fight contract, the Chicago-based promotion announced Tuesday.
Currently the head jiu-jitsu instructor at Team Oyama in Irvine, Calif., the once-beaten middleweight rides a five-fight winning streak heading into his to-be-announced Bellator debut.
“Signing with Bellator is like a dream come true,” Santana said in the official release. “This is what I’ve been working so hard for. This is why I’ve built up my record -- to impress people and to get on the big show. I like to go out there and finish people, and that’s what the fans want. I’m just really excited to have the opportunity to show all of the fans watching on MTV2 what I'm capable of.”
Known for his aggressive style and renowned grappling pedigree, the third degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has finished 14 of his 16 career victims by submission, with 12 of those wins coming via armbar. “The Arm Collector” has never been finished and is a veteran of both EliteXC and M-1 competition. Most recently, Santana took out former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall at Tachi Palace Fights 10 on Aug. 5, choking out “The Rhino” in just 29 seconds.
“A lot of fighters like to go out there and try to knock their opponents out as soon as they can, and that’s the same way I am with my submissions,” Santana said. “For me, to tap a guy out is the same feeling as the knockout. When a punch lands and you know you knocked your opponent out, I feel the same feeling when I lock up a submission on my opponent. I know right away that he’s going to tap, and it’s a great feeling.”