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Leonardo Santos thrilled to share cage with ‘legend’ Clay Guida, wants first-round submission win

Lightweight Leonardo Santos is ready for his clash against Clay Guida at UFC Vegas 44.

Leonardo Santos is set to face Clay Guida at UFC Vegas 44.
Leonardo Santos is set to face Clay Guida at UFC Vegas 44.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

In a battle of veterans, TUF Brazil 2 winner Leonardo Santos is excited to take on the original Strikeforce lightweight champion, Clay Guida. Now less than one day away from fight night, the Brazilian will show respect to the ‘Carpenter’, but does not intend to take it easy in the Octagon.

In an interview with Combate, Santos explained how the opportunity to take on such a seasoned fighter as Guida motivates him. Despite already being 41 years old, Leonardo still believes he is able to put on an impressive performance against someone with cardio as excellent as Clay’s.

“It’s what we strive for, fighting in the UFC and facing the famous guys,” Santos said.” The guys who have been doing this for a long time and beating them. I think this is one of the most important fights of my career and one of the few that made the happiest to accept. Clay Guida is a major fight, because I’ll be sharing the Octagon with a UFC legend, a hall-of-famer.”

“People should change their way of thinking,” Leonardo continued. “They shouldn’t look at our ages. They should look at our performances. How committed you are. I sacrifice. I still sacrifice a lot to be able to train. I’m away from my family, dedicating myself. I pay the price and I’m happy to do so. I think that’s what people should consider, not your age.”

Although Clay is famous for his toughness and hard chin, the Carpenter has been finished 10 times before on the mat, which is good news for the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Santos. In fact, Leonardo hopes make a statement and pick up a finish win in the first round of the fight.

“There is no such thing as a perfect fighter. Everyone has holes in their game. We saw them, we made our camp based on them, now it’s time to put them to use. Hoping that he misses and I land, that’s what makes us happy. I want a first round submission. Let’s see if he gives it to me.”

In his last outing, Santos (18-4-1) suffered his first ever UFC loss, a knockout defeat to Grant Dawson back March. Before that, the 41-year-old had a 8-fight unbeaten streak, with seven wins and one draw, and victories over notable names such as Kevin Lee and Stevie Ray, among others.

Now, Santos is expected to meet Guida at UFC Vegas 44, on December 4, at the UFC Apex, in Las Vegas. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a bantamweight bout between former featherweight champion Jose Aldo and contender Rob Font.