In the April 8th in Brazil the Muay Thai fighter and Carlson Gracie representative, Pedro Santos(7-2), was the protagonist of the first MMA meeting between Carlson team against Brazilian Top TeamIn the April 8th in Brazil the Muay Thai fighter and Carlson Gracie representative, Pedro Santos(7-2), was the protagonist of the first MMA meeting between Carlson team against Brazilian Top Team –represented by Gabriel “Gladiador” Santos- in co-main event ofJuiz-de-Fora Fight 3.
This was the first time since the split of 2002 that both teams were in opposite sides of a MMA competition and this clash was considered one of the best of that Saturday night. Still happy with his unanimous decision victory, Pedro Santos talked to OTM a little about the match and his career in a quick interview- take a look on the pictures of this classic battle that marked an epilogue in Brazilian MMA. Denis Martins: How do you analyze your performance today?
Pedro Santos: I have to thank the people behind me. Their support was extremely important to my victory today against Gabriel Santos. My coach Manimal and my teammates were the main key to my success here in JF Fight 3. Also I would like to thanks the Juiz-de-Fora’s city fans, who supported me a lot again. I was a runner-up of the 8 man tournament held here in the first edition of JF Fight, and the reception of the fans here, to me, was amazing. Denis Martins: Gabriel is a BTT’s BJJ black-belt, and even you are a Carlson Team member, you are still not well ranked in BJJ. So was the key for the victory to keep the fight standing?
Pedro Santos: The strategy was elaborated by master Manimal, we knew his accomplishments in BJJ and the weight advantage he would have against me. I knew that if he took me down, I would have problems to return to the stand-up position, due to his weight and his experience in ground tools. I kept it standing and I landed strikes when I could. He took me down, but I still had stamina to free myself from him and return to the feet. Denis Martins: Did you feel the weight difference during the fight?
Pedro Santos: I did. We were booked to compete in 80kgs division and he weighed 79,700kgs and I weighed80,400kgs. But I did not gain any weight, and I heard he got to recover around 5 kilos in a few hours. So in the fight I felt his strength, and it was problem in the initial minutes of the fight. But I overcame it by the will I had in the fight. Denis Martins: But you already fought a lot of times against heavier fighters, right?
Pedro Santos: Yes. I won a 4-man tournament in Sao Paulo under 90kgs and when I got runner-up in first edition JF Fight, it was under 85kgs and I weighed 76kgs. Denis Martins: Gabriel sunk an armbar in R3. Was that submission attack dangerous to you?
Pedro Santos: Sure it was. I body-slammed him twice, in the first one I guess he could adjust better the position, the second one was salvation. I thanks to GOD that I could think quickly to use the body-slam to free myself of that armbar. That was tough situation. Denis Martins: Like you mentioned, and like everybody expected, you kept the fight standing. So in which moment were you closest to knocking Gabriel out?
Pedro Santos: I low-kicked him in R2, and then I landed a jab and a straight and he felt it walking backwards. I looked to his face and it was cut, but I did press him to land the ultimate strike to knock him out because I thought he could take me down and stall the fight in his favor on the top of me. It was close of the end of R2, and I preferred to not risk myself, that was a chess-match. Denis Martins: When did you feel the fight was under your control?
Pedro Santos: Gabriel had better moments in R1 when took me down and passed my guard. But I forced the comeback to our feet and I did. So he only clinched, I guess end of R1 and whole R2 was when I felt I was in the control of the pace. He gassed early R2, but Ifought to not go to the ground underneath him, because even he had fatigue he could use his excellent BJJ to submit me. Denis Martins: You are talking about keeping the fight standing. But do not you believe in your own ground game? Pedro Santos: Well, he is a specialist on ground-game and I could not risk myself on fighting against him on the ground only because I am a Carlson Team representative. He got the dominance over me on the ground early in R1, I tried to sweep him. But he was really heavier than me. He passed my guard and just that, he was not effective there. Denis Martins: You are the first Carlson Gracie team fighter to battler against a BTT’s one. Do you have any special feeling over this fact?
Pedro Santos: I do not have any rivalry to them. I wanted to do a good fight and to come across like the winner; and Gabriel as well as I guess. Thanks to GOD that HE gave the benefit of being the winner of that match against Gabriel. I think in step-up on the ring and beat my opponents, does not matter which academy they are from. I admire BTT and Gabriel deserves props, because he is a tough opponent, very skilled guy. Denis Martins: How was your relationship to Carlson Gracie Sr.?
Pedro Santos: I am a novice team member of Carlson, I had opportunity of training with him only once since I became his representative. But this single opportunity was very important to me. We talked by phone a lot and before his death he wanted me to go to Chicago and fight in America. I dedicate my victory to his memory and I know that he is seeing us from the heaven. I am here to honor his name and Manimal’s one until my death. Denis Martins: You are a former BUDOKAN Luta-Livre member and a skilled Muay Thai fighter. What kind of changes did you have training under Carlson’s flag?
Pedro Santos: My ground game improved a lot and I am still in phase of increasing it. I owe a lot to head-coach Joao Ricardo from BUDOKAN, because he supported me a lot when I was there. Unfortunately they did not have the structure to keep the fighters there and I moved to Carlson Team under Manimal’s supervision. And I am training BJJ a lot here. Denis Martins: Thanks for your time and good-luck in your future.
Pedro Santos: Thank you for the opportunity and thanks to the all MMA fans who already know me and enjoy my style on the ring. It is since I fought at K-1 Brazil that I have support of the fans due to my will on the fights.
The final message is, I am ready to fight against anyone and anywhere and GOD bless all you. And thanks my sponsors Gameness and Pride fight-wears.