Giva Santana got his 14th career armbar against Darryl Cobb at Bellator 53. | Photo: Keith Mills
As Hector Lombard continues to overwhelm all challengers in the Bellator cage, the promotion's middleweight talents becomes more and more critical. The Bellator 53 undercard at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla., put one of the company's finest recent signings on display, as jiu-jitsu stalwart Giva “The Arm Collector” Santana earned yet another armbar win, tapping Darryl Cobb in the first round of their middleweight contest.
The Sao Paulo native, now based in Irvine, Calif., landed several heavy leg kicks on Cobb before getting a double-leg takedown and moving easily into side control. When Cobb exposed his back, it was elementary, as Santana got position, slipped over his shoulder, and locked up the fight-ending armbar, earning the tap at two minutes even.
“I always look for the submission, that’s my mindset. Not always the armbar, but just a submission. MMA has so many knockout artists, I’m a submission artist,” Santana told Sherdog.com after the bout. “It’s a finish just like a knockout, and that’s what I want to do.”
The 39-year-old Santana, now 17-1 in his MMA campaign, has 13 armbar victories in his career with 12 of them coming in the very first round.
“I'm not sure what’s next for me in Bellator, but I want to just clear my head a little bit. I just got here, and just happy with the win right now,” added Santana. “I’d love to be in a tournament and become champion, but that’s a ways away.”
Former Bellator light heavyweight tournament entrant Raphael Davis started slow, but he eventually put previously unbeaten Myron Dennis of Oklahoma City out cold in their light heavyweight contest.
The Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Brazilian was tagged early, but started to chug along late in the first frame with some ground-and-pound. However, it was a lunging left hook square on the chin 29 seconds into round two that put Dennis out before he even hit the canvas.
Davis moves to 11-2 with the win in his first action since being punched out by D.J. Linderman in the Bellator light heavyweight title tournament this past March.
“My goal has always been to get back into another tournament,” Davis told Sherdog.com. “I had just got off of a pretty serious shoulder surgery before my last tournament, and tore my meniscus about a week before my fight, so now I’m healthy, and would love to give it another shot.”
It was a good night for yet another Brazilian, as just two weeks after falling to Ed West in Bellator's Season 5 bantamweight tournament, Luis Alberto Nogueira needed only 51 seconds to choke out Zak Laird in a 140-pound contest.
The Brazilian got a quick slam takedown, and easily defended a Laird takedown, leading to a scramble. That was all the opportunity that Nogueira needed to lock up a fight-ending guillotine, moving to 12-2 in his career.
For the third time in four bouts, unbeaten welterweight David Rickels won via triangle choke, this time tapping popular Oklahoma fixture Levi Avera in the second round, improving to 9-0.
“The Caveman” dominated Avera from the outset, stuffing the Marine's takedowns and opening up a series of gushing cuts in his hairline and on his forehead. Rickels' elbow attack took a backseat in round two when Avera finally completed a takedown. Rickels locked on a triangle, moved to an armbar, and then calmly moved back to a triangle to tap the overmatched Avera just 66 seconds into the second round.
Since his February 2010 pro debut, Derby, Kan.'s Rickels has finished seven of his eight foes, five of them falling to his triangle choke.
Yet another Missouri Tiger following in the footsteps of Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren and Bellator lightweight tournament champion Michael Chandler, 25-year-old lightweight Emanuel Brooks moved to 4-0 by dominating Wichita, Kan.'s Greg Scott.
Brooks pulverized the debuting Scott with ground-and-pound for a 10-8 first round before forcing Jason Herzog to rescue Scott at 2:40 of the second round.
In a 175-pound contest, Carlsbad, Calif.'s A.J. Matthews got back on the winning side of things by taking a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Raytown, Miss., journeyman Rudy Bears. Bears' fifth Bellator appearance largely saw him hit with jumping knees and steady takedowns from Matthews.