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Iliarde Santos will try to 'impose' his game more now to get first UFC win

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Third time is hopefully the charm for Iliarde Santos.

The Brazilian flyweight believes he got another shot in the organization after two straight losses, because he was brave enough to face the dangerous Iuri Alcantara on short notice in his debut and then lost in a ‘Fight of the Night’ performance to Ian McCall at UFC 163.

"Maybe they gave me a third chance because I did the best fight of the night," Santos told "I’m really happy for having another chance in the UFC. I’ll do my best to get another bonus, maybe the submission of the night now."

In a card with the likes of Jose Aldo and Lyoto Machida, Santos was surprised when he knew he would earn $50,000 for the best fight.

"I’m really glad that they picked my fight as the best," he said. "There were so many idols on the card, like Jose Aldo and Lyoto Machida, and they picked my fight with McCall.

"I will help my mother with that money, and I also have kids to take care of. I will buy a place for my mom to keep working as a hairdresser. She’s still paying rent and that sucks. Maybe I’ll see about an apartment for me too, something for my kids. My parents worked so hard for us, it’s time to return the favor."

Two fights in the UFC, and one extra bonus, were enough to top all the money Santos made from his previous 32 bouts.

"Can’t argue with that," he said. "The UFC helps us a lot financially. They pay us really well, they are so good to me. Not only the UFC, but I have to thank my manager Alex Davis for putting me there. I will never forget that."

Santos returns to the UFC on Oct. 9 against Chris Cariaso in Barueri, Brazil, at UFC Fight Night 29. After facing two top level guys in the Octagon, the Brazilian feels ready to get the 28th win in his seven-year career.

"I’ll be ready for everything he brings to the fight," he said. "I don’t feel I’m under pressure. When you fight under pressure you bring all the responsibility to yourself, you can choke. I hate to lose and I’m pissed that I lost my last two fights, but you can’t forget that I fought on short notice on my debut, and you saw what I can do against McCall. I will try to impose my game more now."

Cariaso is 4-3 under the UFC banner, and also enters the cage following two consecutive losses. Both fighters know they have to win to stay in the UFC, and that’s why Santos decided to change his training a bit, including a few jiu-jitsu practices at Iuri Alcantara’s gym.

"I’m also training a few times at the Marajo Brothers’ gym now with jiu-jitsu coach Frankiko (Lima), they have a lot of good lightweights there," he said. "I plan to work on my wrestling in the U.S. too. I will always work hard to fix and develop my game."