With the various reports that former Sengoku middleweight champ Jorge Santiago (23-8) had signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, it was only a matter of time before an opponent was named, and that opponent is rising middleweight Brian Stann (10-3).
MMAjunkie.com reported the news earlier today having been informed by sources close to the UFC but did not receive any confirmation from Santiago’s manager, Malki Kawa of Authentic Sports Management, that his fighter had even signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
It seems very plausible that this is the matchup the UFC is looking to book. The promotion had been trying to book Stann up against Wanderlei Silva, who was very hesitant about taking the fight and who recently called out Vitor Belfort.
Matching Stann up with Santiago will be a good test for both fighters as Stann is starting to make a name for himself in the middleweight division and would face a former world champion at 185 lbs. While Santiago tests himself against a proven UFC fighter and will get to earn a chance of moving into the higher tiers of the division, much like Jake Shields did after coming over from Strikeforce.
By matching Stann against Santiago it leaves the UFC open to book Silva versus Belfort for the promotions upcoming Brazilian event in August which would certainly help to boost the drawing power of the event.
Stann has won two straight since dropping to middleweight. He is currently 4-2 in the UFC and was last in the octagon on January 1st against Chris Leben at UFC 125. The former Marine earned a first round TKO win over the tough Leben in the shows co-main event. His other victory at 185 lbs was over Mike Massenzio by submission at the UFC on Versus 2 show last August.
Santiago is 2-1 in his last three fights, but is 11-1 in his last twelve. He is coming off two successful Sengoku title defenses, having fought last in August at the Sengoku 14 event against Kazuo Misaki. The Brazilian earned a TKO (towel- corner stoppage) against the Japanese fighter and earned a unanimous decision against Mamed Khalidov at Sengoku 12. The win over Khalidov was a back-to-back fight against the Polish fighter who TKO’d Santiago in a non-title bout at Sengoku 11.
UFC 130 will take place on May 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It is very likely that a Stann vs. Santiago bout will air on either the main card or some other televised bout, like Spike TV or Facebook like the UFC has done for past matches.