Two undefeated newcomers will clash at UFC Fight Night 33, and one of them wants to make this a family business.
Bruno Santos (13-0) enters the Octagon to face off against Krzysztof Jotko (13-0) on Dec. 7 in Brisbane, Australia, and the Nova Uniao product will ask the UFC to have his mother in his corner for his middleweight bout.
"I will never fight if I don’t have my mother with me [laughs]," Santos told MMAFighting.com.
"But I don’t know if she’ll be able to be in my corner. When I fought at Bellator she was not in my corner, but was in the front row. But I don’t know if the UFC will give her this opportunity. To have her there, screaming at me, changes everything. When I hear her screaming, I think ‘it’s time to go’."
Rejanete Santos, "Carioca’s" mother, has attended all his previous MMA fights, and will join him in Australia for his UFC debut. She may not be able to be in his corner, but you’ll probably hear her voice during his fight.
"It’s your mother there, screaming for you, so it makes you fighter harder," he said. "I’m in there to kill or die, you have to be a man. And when I have my mother there, I feel more powerful."
Rejanete has trained martial arts before, but all she does now is follow her son’s successful career.
"She trained karate when she was young," he said. "She was always a warrior, and now she’s a warrior in her life. She’s my example."
Jotko, Santos’ first opponent in the UFC, has an identical MMA record, but with more stoppage victories. Santos isn’t bothered by the fact that he has 11 decision victories, though.
"I always fought guys that were the favorite against me," he said. "They had better records, bigger names or more history in the sport, so I always had a big responsibility. I just couldn’t make a mistake.
"I always go for the finish, but unfortunately is hasn’t happened yet. But the fans like my style, and that’s what matters. I don’t go there to lay and pray, and I’m sure that sooner or later I’ll finish a fight. But the most important is that I get the win."
Santos hasn’t fought since March 2012, when he defeated Givanildo Santana at Bellator’s middleweight tournament quarterfinal. The Brazilian sustained an injury and was forced out of the tourney, and the promotion decided to release him.
"I had to do a shoulder surgery and it took me too long to recover, but I’m 100 percent now," he said. "Bellator signed me to fight in the tournament, so they released me when I got hurt. It was bad that I couldn’t fight for so long, but it turned out perfect because now I’m in the UFC. It was perfect in the end."
For his bout in more than a year, "Carioca" expects a tough battle.
"We have to respect him, he is unbeaten in 13 fights like me and has some finishes in his record," he said. "He’s dangerous, I can’t give him a chance. But I’m feeling comfortable and ready to win. I’ll do my best and get the win."
The fight will air in the U.S. on Friday night. The undercard airs live at Fox Sports 2, and the main card, headlined by Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva, airs live at Fox Sports 1.