Santiago confirms title defense: “Playtime is over”

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Confirmed to by the fighter himself, Jorge Santiago will defend his Sengoku middleweight championship belt against Poland’s Mamed Khalidov. The challenge will take place March 7 in Tokyo, Japan.

And, besides being worth the title, it is also a rematch. With 20 wins, three losses and one draw, Mamed put an end to the Brazilian’s nine-fight winning streak at his last appearance, in November of 2009. However, on the occasion, the bout was not for the title.

“That’s right. We made a deal and, as I wanted a rematch, Sengoku accepted, but this time for the title. As I really wanted to fight that guy again, I accepted right away. We’ll face off March 7,” said Jorge.

Santiago celebrates with team. Photo: Susumo Nagao

The last time the fighters faced each other, Mamed got the better of the encounter, with a quick technical knockout. However, now that the title is on the line, Jorge claims his posture will be different.

“I was talking about it with Liborio (his coach).  I was overconfident. I thought I was great at everything and superior. Props to the guy; he caught me by surprise. But I think I made a mistake and, this time, I’m not going to let that happen. I’m going in cautious and to win. Shoot, that was the first time I ever fought without suffering some injury and I was so confident that I didn’t even think during the fight. This time I’m going to settle things. Playtime is over,” he warns.

He has a tough game to prepare for. He fights differently, more or less the way it is with Lyoto. He has a kickboxing background and throws a lot of round-house kicks. The guy is really strong standing, with lots of weapons in the standup department, and I have to be prepared for anything. I’m going to be looking to use the tools I have against him. I intend to finish the fight,” he says in closing.

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