When we last left our heroes...Well, I can't lie to you guys. My excitement for this fight exists somewhere between going to IHOP after eating a homemade chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, and eating a dunkin donut drenched in motor oil.
Nothing written in these next several hundred words will make you want to watch this fight, but I suppose you want to know who they are in case you're a betting man, in which case you're not even reading this article to begin with if my batting average says anything.
Let's start with the guy whose last name sounds like a white collar crime. Santiago is on a 7 fight winning streak not counting his loss to Leonardo Santos on TUF: Brazil 2.
Opposite Santiago is the undefeated Ryan LaFlare who made his UFC debut against Ben Alloyway, scoring his first decision win in eight professional fights (all of his previous wins were finishes).
So who are these men and what should we expect?
What both men can do: While it's always difficult to predict these stylistic matchups, I suspect this will be open and shut. Santiago is primarily a striker.
His fight to get onto the show was what you'd expect out of a Kansas bar room brawl. To be fair he does box relatively well. He's got a good jab when he pumps it often, and a straight right that he loves to throw constantly.
He's got 6 submissions on his victory list but I won't pretend to to be an expert on whether he not he scored them with grappling prowess alone or not.
As for Ryan, we saw that he's very good in the clinch. He likes staying close to his opponent, and anytime he closes the distance he's looking for that body lock transition into the takedown.
Needless to say, he'll be looking to do that all day against Santiago. He has a few qualities on the feet, which is that he does throw tight hooks (and knees) from his southpaw stance.
What both men can't do: Man...where do I begin? Tight hooks and knees is a polite way of saying "that's all there is to his standup game". The fact that he's always looking for the bodylock makes him pretty predictable, and his defense on the feet is sorely lacking.
Thankfully for him so is Santiago's. The dude throws recklessly, and he has one of the oddest behavior tics to his stance I've ever seen. Watch this fight with Leonardo Mafra, and look at the way he responds to being kicked in the leg...his body kind of stutters, like he's not sure if he got kicked in the leg, or is experiencing the onset of a very violent bowel movement.
It's just plain bizarre. Could it be the...
X-Factor: Probably not. Ryan doesn't throw many leg kicks but I do like LaFlare in this matchup. I think he has the strength to get the fight to the ground with his constant pressure, and needless to say, the fans in Brazil will not be pleased.
Prediction: Ryan LaFlare by Decision.