Ready for his Bellator debut on Friday night, on the main card of Bellator 129 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Andre Santos wants a fast track to a title shot.
Entering the promotion after the end of the tournament system, "Chatuba" is confident that an impressive win over Strikeforce veteran James Terry will be huge for his plans in the promotion.
"That’s what I want: win my fights and go to the top of the division," Santos told MMAFighting.com. "Mr. Scott Coker and Mr. Rich Chou, I’m here to stay."
The Brazilian veteran, who tapped 15 opponents with anaconda chokes in his 36-9 run in MMA, welcomes Terry’s takedown attempts at Bellator 129.
"I think he’s tough, but I don’t see him as that dangerous," Santos said. "His best weapon is his takedown, but if we go to the ground, even on the bottom, I’m at home. I believe I can submit him, but I won’t be desperate to go to the ground with him. I have worked on my striking a lot recently, my boxing and muay thai, and I feel ready to stand and fight anyone. This is one of the best moments of my career."
Santos, who wasn’t selected to compete at the second edition of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil in 2012, makes his first appearance under the Bellator banner after racking up a five-fight finishing streak in 2013, including a couple second-round finishes in a 22-day span in Russia.
"When my manager Stefano Sartori brought me the offer from Bellator, we made the right choice," Santos said. "I want to make a name for myself in Bellator. We have great athletes in Bellator, and I want to do my part to help this promotion grow even more."
Headlined by Paul Bradley vs. Josh Neer, Bellator 129 takes place at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs. In the co-main event, Virgil Zwicker meets Houston Alexander in a heavyweight contest.