BRAVE CF super lightweight Luan Santiago is already training his sights on a future title bout with the division’s current champion Eldar Eldarov. The 26-year-old Brazilian takes on France’s Benoit Saint-Denis in the main event of BRAVE CF 49 this Thursday, with the winner earning a title shot against Eldarov.
Santiago, who with 11 KO wins to his name is known as one of the most entertaining fighters on BRAVE’s roster, has made no secret of his disdain for Eldarov’s skills, viewing the chamo as little more than a standard wrestler.
“Eldarov is a basic fighter, that boring style, holding people. He looks to get the fight to the ground, stalls, and guarantees himself. But he won’t do that to me. He has never fought someone like me, and he has never proved his striking,” Santiago said to LowkickMMA.
“I’m crazy about that fight. I want to go in there and just fight him. I want a man’s fight against him, not these boring, unbearable fights he puts on.”
However, before the former BRAVE CF lightweight champion gets his wish to take on Eldarov, he must first get past Saint-Denis. The 25-year-old Frenchman heads into this week’s clash with an unblemished 6-0 record, with four of his wins coming in the opening round. Santiago is not looking past his upcoming opponent, but nor is he particularly concerned with what the undefeated Saint-Denis will bring to the table on fight night.
“Benoit is a tough fighter, for sure. But I don’t see him having the experience required at this level. He’s a southpaw too, and we’re going to go at it and fight it out. I’m ready for him. I know he’s going to try and take me down. I’m ready for him on the ground, in the stand-up, on the locker room, on the streets, everywhere,” Santiago exclaimed.
It has been over a year since Santiago last laced up his gloves. The fact that he has had multiple fights canceled on him has only increased his desire to return to the cage.
“The feeling is that I will finally be able to work,” he replied when asked how it felt to be competing again.
“I’ve had three fights canceled, but everything will work itself out now, in the name of God. I’m especially excited to be fighting in Bahrain again. I love this place, the energy it gives me. And the venue at Arad Fort looks so good; it will be amazing. “
Santiago is also relishing being able to fight as a super lightweight. He made the switch following his loss to Cleiton Pereira da Silva at BRAVE CF 25. His debut fight at the new weight class took place at BRAVE CF 29 when he scored a decision victory over Gadzhimusa Gaziev. After getting a taste of life as a 165 pounder, Santiago is in no hurry to go back to 155.
” I found it very easy to fight at Super Lightweight, the preparation is different, and it’s much better. The focus is not that much on weight-cutting anymore, ” he said.
“I’m here to stay at Super Lightweight, and BRAVE CF has done an amazing job of putting together this weight-class.”
If he can get past Saint-Denis, fans could be in for an entertaining and no-holds-barred build-up for a title clash between Santiago and Eldarov.