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‘Cyborg’ Santos: Michael Page is not a real fighter yet

Bellator

Michael Page is an undefeated welterweight prospect, and Evangelista Santos wants to derail his rise in front of "Venom’s" countrymen at Saturday’s Bellator 158 in London.

Page was initially booked to meet Fernando Gonzales on July 16, but visa issues forced his opponent out of action. Bellator called long-time MMA veteran "Cyborg" to step in, and the Brazilian guarantees he’s in great shape despite his recent knockout loss to Saad Awad on May 14.

"A soldier has to always be ready for war," Santos told MMA Fighting. "I was back in the gym to train two days after my last fight. I have no time to waste. I always enjoyed training, especially now that I’m 38. I can’t just stop training. I’m like an old car: if you stop using it, it won’t work anymore. I have to stay active."

Page enters the bout with a perfect 10-0 record with six Bellator wins, but "Cyborg" isn’t sold on him just yet. According to the Brazilian veteran, who has fought some of the best fighters around the world, from Nick Diaz to Gegard Mousasi to Mauricio Rua, Page has yet to prove he’s a "real fighter."

"It’s a good fight," Santos said. "He’s coming off good wins, he’s 10-0, but he hasn’t been in a tough situation in the ring yet. I’ve been through every situation a fighter can be in a fight, and this is my 50th MMA fight. I’ve fought the best all over the world, and that’s how you prove you’re a real fighter. I hope it’s a great fight. He has good abilities, but hasn’t been beat up yet. We don’t know how he reacts when he’s getting beat up.

"He’s a talented guy, fights well from the distance and taunts his opponents when he’s away from them," he added. "He gets his opponents pissed and benefits when they make mistakes, and I will use my experience in this fight. I’ll bring him to my game."

As of Page’s unbeaten record, "Cyborg" says he hasn’t faced any real threat yet.

"Tell me one tough fighter he has beaten. Just one," said the Brazilian. "He’s not a real fighter yet. If you haven’t been beaten before and came back to win, like ‘Minotauro’ or Wanderlei (Silva), or Anderson (Silva) against Chael Sonnen, you’re not a real fighter yet. In situations like this, you prove to be a real fighter. I’m not saying he can’t become a great fighter, but he hasn’t been in situations like this yet."

Fighting at the O2 Arena, where his former teammate Anderson Silva lost a decision to Michael Bisping earlier this year, "Cyborg" doesn’t want to go the distance.

"I only care about winning," he said. "I won’t win by decision because we’re in London, and we know what happens. Anderson would have to kill Bisping to win here. I can win by submission or knockout. It depends on how the fight goes. I’m ready for every situation the fight offers."

"Cyborg" is looking to rebound from a rough loss to Awad, and believes that the disappointing performance taught him an important lesson as he steps into the cage to fight a young, hungry prospect in Page.

"I underestimated the guy," Santos said of Awad. "That’s the truth. I never thought that lightweight... I underestimated the guy. I met him several times at the hotel during fight week and he was all smiles, came to shake my hand all the time. I thought ‘f--k, I’ll take him down and tap him.’ That was my mistake. I won’t underestimate Michael Page. I won’t make this same mistake again."

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