Free to fight in USA, Marlon bets on Jiu-Jitsu for Sengoku

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Marlon displays his Sengoku belt. Photo: Carlos Ozório

Sengoku featherweight champion Marlon Sandro’s end of the year will be a lively one. The fighter had previously confirmed to that he would face Hatsu Hioki in September, then October, but now it’s set for December 30, at the promotion’s New Year’s event.

The Jiu-Jitsu black belt has been turning heads for his knockouts – four of them in his last five fights. This time, however, he’s banking on Jiu-Jitsu to be his path to victory.

“I have a feeling he’s going to want to take it to the ground. I don’t believe he’s going to want to strike. I’m prepared in every way. I’m from a Jiu-Jitsu background so – not to underestimate his ground game, as he’s a finisher – I’ll be ready. I’m training a lot on the ground but my standup is really sharp too,” he tells

“It’s a title fight, so I can’t mess up. I have to put on a great fight not just for me, but for the public and the event. I probably won’t spend Christmas or New Year’s with the family, but I’m looking at it in a positive light to try and make me fight better,” he adds.

Photo: Carlos Ozório

Another reason for celebration is his new contract, which now leaves him free to fight in American promotions. As the UFC demands exclusivity, that leaves the door open for Marlon to fight at events like Strikeforce and Bellator.

“I renewed my contract with Sengoku and now I can fight in the United States. It’s exclusive to them and Pancrase in Japan; I’m the champion at Pancrase too. I’m going to battle for yet another win in Japan, but I can fight in U.S. Events too, which a lot of folks have been pushing for. I’m happy because the fans have given me a lot of support, they’re getting to see what I can do and I want to keep having good fights to keep pleasing everyone. I wish my fights were broadcast in Brazil but, while that’s not happening, I’ll keep at it,” says the Nova União featherweight juggernaut in closing.

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