Bellator Fighting Championships is continuing to sign some of the most promising fighters in mixed martial arts, with Giva Santana becoming the latest to step into the Bellator fold.
Santana has a 16-1 professional record, most recently choking out former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall in just 29 seconds. Thirteen of Santana's wins were first-round finishes, and his only loss was a split decision. Santana has 12 wins by arm bar, which is why he's known as "The Arm Collector."
"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 in Bellator's press release announcing the signing. "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."
Bellator is in a precarious position within the MMA world, where the UFC is No. 1 by such a large margin that it's sometimes hard to see No. 2. But it's impressive that Bellator manages to keep signing legitimate fighters like Santana, who's good enough that he could be fighting in the UFC.
Whether Bellator can survive for the long haul remains to be seen, but if the promotion doesn't make it, it won't be for a lack of identifying great talent and bringing that talent into the cage.