End of UFC CareerEdit
He most recently faced Dennis Hallman, losing for the second straight time by unanimous decision.
He was afterwards cut from the UFC. In his first fight outside of the promotion, he defeated Elijah Harshbarger by first-round submission due to strikes after taking the fight on a month's notice. He next signed with Bellator.
Saunders made his Bellator debut in a non-tournament bout versus Matt Lee. He defeated Lee via third-round doctor stoppage after marking up the veteran's face with elbows, knees and punches for nearly fifteen minutes.
Saunders was next set to fight in the quarterfinals of the Bellator season five welterweight tournament against season four finalist and judo specialist Rick Hawn. Hawn was unfortunately injured and forced to pull out of the tournament. Hawn was replaced by Bellator newcomer Chris Cisneros. Saunders defeated Cisneros via brutal third-round TKO.
With the victory, Saunders moved on to the semifinals where faced prospect Luis Santos. Saunders dominated Santos for nearly fifteen minutes, surely filling some spectators with shocked delight. He defeated the tough Santos via third round keylock submission to advance to the finals where he faced former MFC welterweight champion and friend Douglas Lima. Lima defeated Saunders via second-round knockout.
Saunders next signed to face Raul Amaya in the quarterfinals of the Bellator season six welterweight tournament. He handed a tough Amaya his first loss via dominant unanimous decision, chaining submission attempts together on the ground from dominant positions and closing Amaya's left eye with strikes.
With the victory, Saunders moved on to the tournament semifinals to face former middleweight tournament finalist and WEC veteran Bryan Baker. Baker defeated Saunders via an exciting unanimous decision.
Saunders next faced Brian Warren, winning via a twenty-two second TKO.
Saunders next fought in the quarterfinals of the season eight welterweight tournament against newcomer Koffi Adzitso on Spike. Saunders dominated Adzitso en route to a unanimous decision victory, moving on to the semifinals for a rematch against Raul Amaya. Saunders knocked Amaya out in the first round with an emphatic high kick.
With the victory, Saunders moved on to the finals for another rematch with friend Douglas Lima. The fight was delayed twice because of injuries to Lima; in fact, the season eight finals were delayed until the start of Season Nine. Lima unfortunately knocked Saunders out with a brutal second round head kick.
A few months after the loss Saunders was cut from Bellator after agreeing that he could do more there with CEO Bjorn Rebney.
Post-Bellator Career And UFC ReturnEdit
Saunders had a decent layoff afterwards before signing in late April 2014 to fight in Titan FC.
In June 2014 Saunders signed to make his debut for the vacant promotional welterweight title against fellow UFC and TUF veteran Matt Riddle. Riddle was unfortunately injured and replaced by pioneer Jose Landi-Jons.
Saunders ended up resigning with the UFC instead to make a short-notice return against newcomer Chris Heatherly in August 2014. Saunders defeated Heatherly via a first round omoplata shoulderlock submission, the first time the submission had been successfully used to finish a fight in the UFC. The finish won Submission of the Year honors.
Saunders next signed to fight fellow Bellator veteran and returning UFC veteran Joe Riggs. Saunders defeated Riggs via a quick first round submission due to a shoulder injury to Riggs.
Saunders next signed to fight veteran striker Erick Silva in what would be the first true test of Saunders' UFC return. He was unfortunately injured and the fight was scrapped.
After recovering Saunders then fought Kenny Robertson winning a close and exciting split decision.
For the last fight of his contract Saunders fought veteran Patrick Cote losing via a first round TKO.
Out of the UFC Again Edit
A few months later Saunders was released from the UFC, initially thought by fans and pundits alike that he had been cut. Saunders took the time to explain that his grandparents had died during the leadup to the Cote fight and his personal life and training camps had been suffering a lot of difficulties. He gave no blame to the UFC whatsoever and stated that he was sure he'd be back soon.
In the meantime Saunders took a fight against fellow UFC veteran Jacob Volkmann. Saunders defeated Volkmann via a very impressive seventeen second armbar submission.
- Ben Saunders vs. Dan Barrera - The fight was a rematch of the pair's bout on the TUF show. The fight was the official UFC debut of both men.
- Ben Saunders vs. Brandon Wolff - The fight was the UFC debut of Brandon Wolff.
- Ben Saunders vs. Ryan Thomas - The fight was the UFC debut of Thomas.
- Mike Swick vs. Ben Saunders - The fight was the first official defeat for Saunders in his mixed martial arts career.
- Jon Fitch vs. Ben Saunders - Saunders was a late replacement for Thiago Alves. It was only his second loss in his career.
- Dennis Hallman vs. Ben Saunders - After the fight, Saunders was cut from the UFC.
- Ben Saunders vs. Matt Lee - The fight was the Bellator debut of both men.
- Ben Saunders vs. Chris Cisneros - The fight was in the quarterfinals of the Bellator fifth season welterweight tournament. Chris Cisneros made his Bellator debut with the bout, replacing an injured Rick Hawn.
- Ben Saunders vs. Luis Santos - The fight was in the semifinals of Bellator's season five welterweight tournament.
- Douglas Lima vs. Ben Saunders - The fight was in the finals of the Bellator season five welterweight tournament.
- Ben Saunders vs. Raul Amaya - The fight was in the quarterfinals of the Bellator season six welterweight tournament. Raul Amaya came into the fight undefeated and it was his first loss after an awesome effort.
- Ben Saunders vs. Brian Warren
- Ben Saunders vs. Koffi Adzitso - The fight was in the quarterfinals of the Bellator season eight welterweight tournament. The fight was the Bellator debut of Koffi Adzitso.
- Ben Saunders vs. Raul Amaya 2 - The fight was in the semifinals of the Bellator season eight welterweight tournament.
- Ben Saunders vs. Kenny Robertson
- Patrick Cote vs. Ben Saunders
- Ben Saunders vs. Jacob Volkmann