Posts Tagged ‘Greatest’

With the UFC’s middleweight division currently receiving as much attention as any time in previous years, Thiago “Marreta” Santos may be flying a little under the radar. But the Brazilian believes the UFC, at least, is paying attention.

“I’m very happy to be in the two greatest events this year – UFC 198 and UFC 200,” Santos told MMAjunkie. “I’m very happy that my work is being recognized and for this opportunity from the UFC. I also appreciate the fans’ support. It’s the fans who make the UFC pay attention to me.”

Santos was in action most recently at May’s UFC 198 event in Brazil, a record-breaking stadium show in Curitiba. The 32-year-old Santos scored an impressive first-round stoppage of Nate Marquardt at the event, extending his octagon winning streak to four fights.

But “Marreta” isn’t waiting long to get back to work. When Derek Brunson was injured and forced to withdraw from next week’s UFC 200 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Santos (13-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) stepped in to face his biggest name to date, Gegard Mousasi (38-6-2 MMA, 5-3 UFC), who is currently ranked No. 9 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA middleweight rankings.

It’s a stiff challenge, especially on a little less than three weeks’ notice, but Santos said he’s more than prepared.

“I had already been watching his fights,” Santos revealed. “Actually, I watch all the fights in my weight class. I’d been watching him. He’s very complete and dangerous, both with his jiu-jitsu and striking. He is in no way to be underestimated.

“I had already been training all facets of MMA, so now I’m focusing on strategy. He likes to control the pace of the fight, so my objective is not to allow him to feel comfortable. I’ll fight my way and impose my rhythm.”

Santos, who recently has begun to split time training between Brazil and the U.S., wasn’t able to take advantage of that arrangement this time around. On short notice, Santos felt his time was best spent in one location, but with his last outing so closely in the rearview mirror, “Marreta” believes his preparation wasn’t impacted with limited options.

“There wasn’t enough time to travel to American Top Team, so I’m doing my work at my team, Tata Fight Team,” Santos said. “We’re also assisted by master Pedro Rizzo. We’re drawing up my strategy and tightening up my diet.

“I’m ready. I didn’t fight that long ago, so it’s just a matter of continuing to do the same things.”

Santos and Mousasi meet on the UFC Fight Pass-streamed prelims of an incredibly stacked UFC 200 card. Additional prelims then air on FOX Sports 1 before the main card shifts to pay-per-view.

Santos knows it’s a massive opportunity, and he appreciates the UFC bringing him from one blockbuster event to another.

“Thankfully, I’m in a good moment in my career,” Santos said. “I’m on a four-fight win streak in the UFC. This is an important transitional moment. I’m entering the rankings. I’m amongst the top fighters now, and I’m closer to fighting for the belt. I’m renewing my dedication after the opportunity materialized for this next fight. I’ll seize the moment. I expect to be victorious and continue my climb in the weight class.

“A lot of people feel I’m a future champion. I’m thankful for all the love I’ve received.”

For more on UFC 200, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC

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