Thiago Santos (right) defeats Josh Burns at Bellator 53.

Following an impressive first round submission win over Josh Burns Saturday night at Bellator 53, Thiago Santos (9-1) will replace an injured Mike “300” Hayes in the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament semifinals.

Currently riding a three-fight win streak, Santos will take on Sambo champion Blagoi Ivanov (5-0, 1 NC) at Bellator 56 on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas. Bellator confirmed the replacement match-up on Monday.

Hayes suffered a fractured orbital bone during his three-round split decision win over Neil Grove at Bellator 52 on Oct. 1 and was placed on 60-days medical suspension by the Louisiana State Athletic Commission.

Santos was originally scheduled to take part in the season five heavyweight tournament but ran into visa issues in his native Brazil and was unable to compete in the quarterfinals. Now with those visa issues taken care of he is clear to take Hayes’ spot.

In the other heavyweight tournament semifinal bout Eric Prindle (8-1) will take on Ron Sparks (8-0). Stay close to ( and our Upcoming Events page as the complete fight card for Bellator 56 comes together.

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