Consider Emmanuel Sanchez ready for a shot at Bellator gold.
After two-plus rounds rife with scrambles, transitions, and submission attempts, the 27-year-old trapped former featherweight champion Daniel Straus in a triangle choke for the tapout 1:56 into Round 3 of Bellator 184's co-main event in Thackerville, Okla., on Friday.
Sanchez's first finish since October 2014 extended his win streak to three, with each victory coming over former world champions in Straus, Marcos Galvao, and Georgi Karakhanyan.
The pair of featherweights set a frenetic pace early, with Sanchez the first to angle for a submission with a kneebar off an early scramble. Straus escaped into side control to slap on a north-south choke in rebuttal, only for Sanchez to turn the tables and take his back for a rear-naked choke to close out a thrilling first round.
Straus worked from Sanchez's guard to open Round 2, but soon found himself on his back, as Sanchez reversed positions and gained full mount before raining down a barrage of elbows the former champ valiantly survived to make the third-round bell.
Sanchez didn't need top position to put Straus away in third, stoically working from his back to secure the triangle choke his foe did his damnedest to escape before resigning himself to his fate.
Straus has now lost two straight and four of his last seven, with every one of those defeats coming by way of submission.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)