Interview: Brave 11 lightweight title challenger Luan Santiago

In just two days time, Luan “Miau” Santiago (12-2-0) will be putting his seven fight win streak on the line Lucas “Mineiro” Martins (19-3-0) in the main event at Brave 11 in his home town of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. With the Brave interim lightweight championship on the line and the winner expected to face reigning champion Ottman Azaitar later this year, the stakes are high.

Earlier this week, I caught up with Santiago to discuss how it feels to be given an opportunity to capture the gold in his home town and how preparations are going heading into the biggest fight of his career to date.

Luan Santiago 1 - Brave 11 Brazil MMAMotion

Tom Mulligan – After impressive KO finishes in your first two fights for Brave CF, how does it feel to be given a shot at the interim belt?
Luan Santiago – I’ve been enjoying the fruits of my labor. I’ve worked very hard to get where I am so I feel this is time to get back what I invested in this sport.
TM – How has camp been going so far?
LS – My training camp was amazing. I worked really hard on my jiu-jitsu and wrestling and every other area. I really enjoyed getting ready for this fight.
TM – Does being included in Fighters Only’s top prospects for the year add any pressure to deliver going into the bout with Martins?
LS – There’s no additional pressure. I don’t think so. When we get in there it’s just time to work. This doesn’t change anything in my mindset going into this fight. 
TM – Having won your last six fights by KO/TKO, are you expecting your naturally aggressive approach to be on Martins’ mind heading into the fight?
LS – I hope for the KO, of course, but I’m ready to roll wherever the fight goes. I can take him down and submit him, and I can knock him out.
TM – Martins has won his last two fights via submission. Is that something you are concerned about heading into the fight?
LS – His submission game doesn’t worry me at all. First of all, I don’t think he can take me down. If the fight goes to the ground I’ll be on top and it’s not gonna be good for him.
TM – How does it feel to be fighting for the title in Brazil and how important is it to you that you put on an entertaining fight in front of the Brazilian fans?
LS – It’s an amazing feeling to be fighting for the Brave belt in my home country. Even though Belo Horizonte is my opponent’s hometown, I’m Brazilian and he’s Brazilian. This is very important to me and it’s so cool that Brave is giving the Brazilian fans an opportunity to witness one of their own becoming world champion.
TM – What do you picture being the key to winning this fight and walking away with the championship?
LS – The key is what I do in every fight. Train really hard and be prepared to succeed in every single scenario.
TM – If you had one message for Martins ahead of your fight what would it be?
LS – A message to my opponent? Good luck! 

Brave 11 is set to take place on Friday 13th April at Mineirao Stadium’s Terrace, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil and will be headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Lucas Martins and Luan Santiago. The full fight card for the event is below.

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