Few throw the leather better than Paul Daley. | Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Paul Daley has never had trouble finding work. Violent tendencies have their perks.
Daley will climb back into the Bellator MMA cage for the first time in nearly three years when he meets Renovacao Fight Team’s Andrea Santos in the Bellator 134 co-main event on Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The two welterweights have combined for 55 finishes in 72 victories between them.
A former Cage Rage champion, Daley will enter the match on a two-fight winning streak. The 32-year-old Brit has long been established as one of MMA’s premier knockout artists, having secured 26 of his 36 pro wins by KO or TKO. His list of victims includes former M-1 Global champion Daniel Weichel, onetime World Extreme Cagefighting titleholder Scott Smith and Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans John Alessio, Dustin Hazelett and Martin Kampmann. Daley last competed under the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts banner in September, when he knocked out Marinho Moreira da Rocha with a punch to the body in the second round of their BAMMA 16 headliner.
Santos has rattled off six straight wins, five of them finishes. The 34-year-old Brazilian has recorded more than half (22) of his 37 career victories by submission: 15 via anaconda choke, four via arm-triangle choke and one each via guillotine choke, brabo choke and rear-naked choke. Santos made his organizational debut at Bellator 129 in October, when he took a three-round unanimous decision from Strikeforce veteran James Terry at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “Chatuba” has not lost a fight in more than two years.
With the Daley-Santos showdown as one of the primary drawing cards, here are 10 facts surrounding Bellator 134:
FACT 1: Bellator light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton is also one of five men to have held Maximum Fighting Championship gold at 205 pounds. Ryan Jimmo, Trevor Prangley, Roger Hollett and Victor Valimaki are the others.
FACT 2: The unbeaten Liam McGeary has needed an average of just 3:02 to defeat his nine opponents.
FACT 3: Former Strikeforce champion Muhammed Lawal was born in Murfreesboro, Tenn. -- the same hometown as 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner David Price.
FACT 4: According to FightMetric data, Cheick Kongo ranks second among heavyweights on the UFC’s all-time list for strikes landed with 1,025. He trails only Cain Velasquez (1,257).
FACT 5: Pride Fighting Championships alum Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou has fought in 10 different countries during his 28-fight mixed martial arts career: United States, Russia, South Korea, Poland, Canada, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Japan and England.
FACT 6: Linton Vassell has held titles inside the Ultimate Challenge MMA and Olympian MMA Championships promotions.
FACT 7: Tamdan McCrory went five years, five months and 29 days between his strike-induced submission victory over Ryan Madigan at UFC 96 and his 21-second knockout on Brennan Ward at Bellator 123.
FACT 8: Heavyweight Josh Diekmann -- they call him “The Freight Train” -- sports 10-, 12-, 24-, 33-, 45-, 47-, 54-, 56-, 61-, 68-, 72- and 75-second finishes on his resume.
FACT 9: Neiman Gracie is the nephew of two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Renzo Gracie.
FACT 10: A semifinalist in the Bellator Season 9 middleweight tournament, Jason Butcher holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Jorge Gurgel.