While Emmanuel Sanchez and Mads Burnell are set to play second fiddle to one of the year’s most anticipated blockbusters, their forthcoming battle in the Bellator MMA featherweight division carries no less meaning for them.
Sanchez will face the former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder in the Bellator 263 co-feature this Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Burnell enters the cage on the strength of a six-fight winning streak. He last appeared at Bellator 257, where he submitted Saul Rogers with a second-round rear-naked choke on April 16. Sanchez, meanwhile, has rattled off seven victories across his past nine outings. The Roufusport standout last competed on April 2, when he was choked unconscious by a Patricio Freire guillotine in the first round of their Bellator 255 rematch.
As Sanchez and Burnell make final preparations for their pivotal three-round tilt, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
30: Years of age for Sanchez, who was born in Milwaukee on Aug. 11, 1990.
8: Sanchez wins by submission, accounting for 40% of his career total (20). His methods of choice: three triangle chokes, three rear-naked chokes, one arm-triangle choke and one armbar. Sanchez holds one other win by knockout and 11 more by decision.
107: Combined victories between the four men—Freire (twice), Daniel Weichel, Pat Curran and Lewis Gonzalez—who have beaten Sanchez. They sport a cumulative winning percentage of .787 (107-29).
6: First-round finishes on the Sanchez resume. However, only two of them have taken place inside the Bellator cage. Sanchez submitted Stephen Banaszak with a rear-naked choke 2:18 into their Bellator 128 pairing on Oct. 10, 2014 and put away Sam Sicilia with an arm-triangle choke 3:52 into their Bellator 184 encounter on April 28, 2018.
11: Consecutive calendar years in which Sanchez has made at least one appearance. He fought once in 2011, three times in 2012, twice in 2013, four times in 2014, four times in 2015, twice in 2016, three times in 2017, twice in 2018, twice in 2019, once in 2020 and once in 2021.
27: Years of age for Burnell, who was born on March 6, 1994 in Husum, Denmark.
9: Burnell victories by submission, accounting for 60% of his career total (15). His methods of choice: four Japanese neckties, two rear-naked chokes, one armbar, one brabo choke and one anaconda choke. Burnell owns one other victory by technical knockout and five more by decision.
.885: Cumulative winning percentage between the three men—Arnold Allen, Michel Prazeres and Ott Tonissaar—who have defeated Burnell. They boast a combined record of 54-7.
7: Countries in which Burnell has competed as a mixed martial artist. He has gone 6-1 in his native Denmark, 4-1 in England, 2-0 in the United States, 1-0 in Sweden, 1-0 in France, 1-0 in Scotland and 0-1 in the Netherlands.
4: Sub-minute stoppage victories on the Burnell ledger. He submitted Aleksander Sredanovic with an anaconda choke 58 seconds into their Sept. 26, 2013 clash at European MMA 6, put away Ali Selcuk Ayin with a brabo choke 50 seconds into their Feb. 22, 2014 affair at European MMA 8, tapped Jamie Reynolds with an armbar 30 seconds into their April 25, 2015 confrontation at Odense Fight Night 3 and disposed of Ahmed Vila with a Japanese necktie 50 seconds into their March 9, 2019 scrap at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 103.