Thiago Santos vs. Derrick Lewis heavyweight tournament qualifier added to Bellator 45

BJJ black belt Thiago "Big Monster" Santos makes his U.S. and Bellator debut this weekend at Bellator 45 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Photo credit: Bellator

Bellator Fighting Championships will close out their fourth season with Bellator 45 this Saturday at L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort Event Center in Lake Charles, La.

In addition to the two Championship fights on the card, the event will also feature the Bellator debut of BJJ black belt Thiago “Big Monster” Santos (8-1) and New Orleans’ Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (4-1), who will face off in a season five heavyweight tournament qualifier.

Santos, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, began practicing jiu-jitsu at the age of nine, and is a former Brazilian State Champion. The bout with Lewis will be his first on U.S. soil and he is looking to make a statement.

Santos commented:

“The message I want to send in this fight with Derrick Lewis is that I want to be the Bellator Heavyweight World Champion. I respect everyone I fight, but I want the title. My intention is to finish Derrick by knockout or submission to let everyone know that I’m coming for the belt. I’m extremely excited to be fighting on national television in the United States for the first time on MTV2. This is a huge opportunity for my young career, and I feel like this fight is going to be the first on my way to the Bellator Heavyweight World Championship.”

Santos last fought in Aug. 2010 at Amazon Fight 4 in Brazil, defeating Bira Lima via disqualification due to illegal punches to the back. Three months earlier he knocked out Geronimo dos Santos in the first round at Amazon Fight 3.

All four of Derrick Lewis’ wins have come via stoppage. He has won his last three fights, most recently scoring a first round TKO over Taylor Herbert at  IXFA in February.

For the full Bellator 45 line-up refer to’s Upcoming Events page.