Back in Brazil, Leonardo Santos is celebrating a victorious trip to England. At a time when the UFC dominates the MMA market, the black belt saw action at BAMMA, a promotion that has started to take off in the international scene. At the event held in Wembley, Léo used his Jiu-Jitsu to overcome Jason Ball and notch his ninth win (9w-3l).
“The plan was to get the takedown, but my timing was off and he kept me at bay. But the striking work I did paid off. I fought well standing until I got my timing for the takedown down. I controlled him on the ground and got back mount. The only thing missing was the finish,” he says.
“I didn’t feel well at the end of the second round, that threw me off a bit. I don’t know if it was my diet or the weight cup. That just made me appreciate the win even more,” he adds.
MMA is now in the grip of the UFC, especially since Strikeforce’s acquisition by Zuffa, the UFC’s parent company. Léo sees BAMMA’s growth in a positive light.
“We need more events; these days UFC is pretty much all there is and anyone who’s not there is unemployed. BAMMA was held at Wembley Arena, a traditional English venue, and it was really well done. The house was packed and they really took to the Brazilians. Murilo Ninja, who lost unfortunately, was treated like a hero,” says the black belt, who now may get a shot at the promotion’s belt.
“I have two offers to fight in Brazil, but they said that if I won this fight I’d get a shot at the title against Rob Sinclair on September 10.”
On a return to the gi, Léo doesn’t discard the possibility but, for now, his main focus is MMA.
“I don’t think it’s likely that I compete in Jiu-Jitsu now. To fight MMA I have to be 100% immersed in that, as I would to be successful in Jiu-Jitsu too. I’m taking the MMA patch, but I train in the gi all the time. I’ve already trained in the gi with the gang since this fight, and I never skip training in the gi. Later perhaps I’ll compete in the master division, maybe at the International. Now if I get an invite to the ADCC, like I have in the past, it would be a true honor. I train No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu all the time and I’m prepared,” he says in finishing.