Critics now denigrate former Sengoku champion Jorge "The Sandman" Santiago (24-10) as another overseas phenom who "couldn't cut in the UFC."
Sure, the game veteran was soundly defeated in both Octagon performances. However, he was knocked out by one of the middleweight division's most feared power punchers in Brian Stann and out-grappled by one of MMA's elite ground technicians in Demian Maia. Therefore, the only people that should be disappointed with his UFC tour are those who were banking on Santiago establishing himself as a top-10 middleweight and/or beating a pair of trumpeted specialists at their own game. Silly pundits.
Santiago holds down the headlining role in Titan Fighting Championships 23: "Fight for the Troops" event, which airs tonight (June 15) at 10 p.m. ET on HDNet. Initially paired with former UFC and Bellator fighter Jay Silva, who was forced off the card, Santiago now squares off with Colorado Fight Factory's Justin Guthrie (9-4). Guthrie is high on a 4-fight roll after a submission loss to TUF-product Jesse Forbes while Santiago, a potent finisher (10 TKOs, 12 subs, 2 decisions) notched a quick KO over Leonardo Pecanha in his TFC debut.
The co-main event consists of featherweight Joe Wilk (16-6) taking on Josh Huber (9-3). Wilk, who's also on a 4-fight win streak, trains at the Combative Sports Center in Kansas and is another motivated finisher, scoring submissions in 13 of his 16 wins with 2 TKOs to boot. Huber has won 6 of his last 7, losing only to cunning veteran Fabio Mello, who's dueled with the likes of Jose Aldo and Masakazu Imanari.
Continued in the full entry.
Join us tonight on Bloody Elbow for live discussion and play-by-play of Titan Fighting Championships 23. The entire lineup is listed below.