Paul Daley saw his Bellator title fight go away when welterweight champion Douglas Lima had to withdraw from Bellator 134 main event with an injury, and another Brazilian is planning on ruining "Semtex’s" return to Bellator on Friday night.
Welterweight veteran Andre Santos stepped in to replace Lima on five weeks’ notice at the Mohegan Sun arena in Uncasville, Conn., and the Luta Livre fighter doesn’t feel he needed more time to prepare for a bout with Daley.
"I took this fight on short notice, but I haven’t stopped training since my last fight in October," Santos told MMAFighting.com. "I kept training hard and when they offered me this fight, I felt 100 percent ready. I just needed to make a few changes in my training, some adjustments, but I focused really hard on muay thai training in the end of 2014, so I’m ready for everything."
"Chatuba" defeated James Terry in his promotional debut at Bellator 129, improving his win streak to six with a unanimous decision. His last five wins before stepping in the Bellator cage came via stoppage, and that’s what he’s planning on doing to Daley.
"He does not want to go to the ground with me," he said. "I know I’m prepared to fight him standing as well. I got some knockouts too, I’m confident standing. I have a reach advantage, I’m taller.
"I’m confident standing and on the ground. I know I have better chances if this fight goes to the ground because he’s pretty much basic on the ground, and I’m ready to prove that. If I take him down and pass the guard, the fight is over."
Santos, who compiled a 37-9 record in nine years as a professional mixed martial artist, expects to earn a shot at Bellator champion Douglas Lima with a win over Daley.
"Replacing the champion, that’s recognition. They recognize my work and what I’m capable of, so I loved when I got that call," Santos said. "I don’t want to just go there and win, I want to prove a point. When I do that, I believe a title show should be my next step."
At 34 years old, the longtime veteran wonders where his career would be if he had the help of a professional manager in his first steps as a fighter. Better late than never, though.
"It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity," Santos said. "I have more than 40 fights on my record, but things didn’t happen fast for me. I never had a manager to help me throughout my career. Fighters have managers when they are starting their career now, and I had to wait too much. Now I’m replacing the Bellator champion, and I should fight for the title with a win."