Thiago Santos, fresh off of a first-round submission win over Josh Burns at Bellator 53 on Saturday night, will step in for Hayes. Santos (9-1) has won his last three fights. He’ll face Blagoi Ivanov at Bellator 56 on Oct. 29 in Kansas City.
Hayes, who bested veteran Neil Grove on Oct.1 in a three-round war of attrition during the Heavyweight Quarterfinals, was put on a 60-day medical suspension by the Louisiana State Commission for a fractured orbital bone, effectively removing him from the tournament.
Ivanov (5-0) enters the fight with Santos having defeated Zak Jensen at Bellator 52, the same card on which Hayes fractured his orbital bone.
The Bellator Heavyweight Tournament Semifinals will take place at Bellator 56 from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., and will feature Eric Prindle taking on Ron Sparks, with Ivanov facing Santos.