The Bellator Fighting Championships announced that Thiago “Big Monster” Santos will fill in for injured Mike “300” Hayes in the semifinals of the Season 5 Heavyweight Tournament. Santos (9-1) will now be matched against Blagoi Ivanov (5-0) at Bellator 56.
Hayes defeated Neil Grove at Bellator 52 to advance to the semifinals. However, he was issued a 60 day medical suspension by the Louisiana State Commission after suffering a fractured orbital bone during the bout. Santos enjoyed a successful Bellator debut with a first round submission win over Josh Burns at Bellator 53 this past Saturday. The undefeated Ivanov earned his way into the semifinals with a second round submission of Zak Jensen.
Bellator 56 goes down on October 29th from the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. Eric Prindle will battle Ron Sparks in the other heavyweight semifinal bout. The card also features weltwerweight champion Ben Askren defending his title against Jay Hieron.