Thirty-five-year-old Luis “Sapo” Santos (61-9-1, 1 NC) will get another shot at Ben Askren‘s (14-0, 1 NC) welterweight title on Nov. 13 at ONE Championship 34 in Singapore. Their first fight ended in a No Contest in April after Santos took a finger to the eye just 2:19 into the first round and was unable to continue.
This 72-fight veteran has knocked out 35 of his opponents and submitted 12. He’s a longtime member of American Top Team, a BJJ black belt and many feel a real threat to Askren’s 170-pound title.
Pro MMA Now caught up with Luis via email (hence the language barrier) before he heads off to Singapore to get his thoughts on how the first fight ended, what he was able to take away from it and who’s been helping him train to deal with Askren’s world-class wrestling.
PMN: Hi Luis, thank you for your time as I’m sure your heavy into camp for your November rematch with Ben Askren. How is your eye doing now and how bad was the injury?
Luis: Really the camp was very intense, lesion was very painful I had more patience in the treatment.
PMN: How long were you unable to train because of the injury?
Luis: One month and a half.
PMN: When you look back at the 2 minutes you spent in the cage with Askren, did you learn anything from that exchange that helped you in any way?
Luis: Clearly with each fight there is a aprendizado (learning) more in two minutes I can not say that there was.
PMN: Were you happy with the way the fight was going up until the eye poke?
Luis: But everything was within my plan to fight I really know my opponent knows how to do one thing, try to get the fall (takedown) so I was doing very well in moving beating me moving against stricken find until his finger hit my eye.
PMN: Where have you been training for this fight, in Florida at ATT?
Luis: Yes I train at American Top Team a long time and this camp was very strong with several champions training on my team.
PMN: Who’s helping you with your wrestling for this fight?
Luis: Besides my main coaches, Katel Kubis, Kami, Conan Silveira, Ailton Barbosa, also had very important help from Steve Mocco and Nathan Coy beyond that to where you are in ATT island and there is excellent wrestling.
PMN: Your striking over the last few years has looked phenomenal and you’ve had some real memorable highlight reel knockouts. What has been your secret?
Luis: Dedication in training and always seek more knowledge to add in MMA game. I think all this resulted in the knockouts.
PMN: Who are your striking coaches?
Luis: Katel Kubis for Muay Thai.
PMN: Alright, we’re all looking very forward to this fight. … And how is Carina [Damm] doing and are we going to see her fight again soon?
Luis: Carina is training for a jiu jitsu tournament in November and surely we will soon see her again in cages.
PMN: Alright thanks again for your time Luis, good luck on Nov. 13th against Ben Askren in Singapore.
Luis: Thank you. I hope the fans enjoy and on November 13 it will be the maximum me to make a great fight at One Championship.