After earning a split decision over Neil Grove on
Oct. 1 in Lake Charles, La., Hayes was issued a 60-day medical
suspension by the Louisiana Boxing and Wrestling Commission due to
a fractured orbital bone sustained during the fight. Santos, who
was slated to face Ivanov in the quarterfinals before visa issues
forced his withdrawal, made his stateside debut at Saturday’s
Bellator 53 and earned his tourney reserve spot with a quick
rear-naked-choking of Josh Burns.
A jiu-jitsu practitioner by trade, Santos cut his teeth brawling in
Rio de Janeiro’s underground Rio Heroes league, winning the vale
tudo promotion’s one-night heavyweight tournament in 2007 with a
trio of finishes. The 24-year-old has since tasted defeat only
once, against experienced Russian Alexey
Oleinik, and currently rides a three-fight win streak.
Best known for defeating Fedor
Emelianenko in the 2008 World Sambo Championships, Ivanov holds
a perfect 5-0 record in MMA, including a win over former Fedor foe
Fujita. Ivanov made his Bellator debut in March, blasting
through William Penn
with punches, and advanced to the tournament semifinals with an
Oct. 1 throttling of Zak Jensen.