There are many highly-talented mixed martial artists out there, however, not all of them can showcase their skills when it matters. It takes a special kind of athlete to feel fluid, relaxed and let their instincts flow in a high-stakes match under the bright lights of a global mixed martial arts promotion.
Brazil's Luan Santiago (17-6) is that type of athlete. Who can forget that incredible moment when he knocked out Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady (12-3) to become the new BRAVE CF lightweight champion back at BRAVE CF 23.
Leading up to the knockout, Santiago – who usually cuts a relaxed figure – picked his opponent apart on the feet and was just sublime with his timing and range management With just over two minutes left of the first round, Al-Selwady got over-anxious and tried closing the range to which he received a well-timed spinning-back elbow shutting his lights out and silencing his fans in the arena. It was done, and a new champion was crowned.
"I get goosebumps even thinking about it," Santiago said. "It was meant to be. I knew that it was happening. I was supposed to be the champion before, but now everything was aligned. I had trained so much for this moment. The elbow was repeated to exhaustion, even in the locker room, before the fight. And it was great because Abdul-Kareem is an amazing athlete. But, on that night, I was better."
That incredible BRAVE CF knockout, which went viral on social media earned Santiago the 2019 "Knockout of the Year" award, etching his name into MMA history books as one of the kings of KO. The CM System athlete is notoriously known for putting his opponents' lights out with nine of his seventeen wins coming via knockout.
His unorthodox, wide-stanced and unsettling style stems from his karate and muay Thai background, where he earned black belts in both codes. He has showcased his prowess on the feet more than once in the BRAVE CF cage with another two knockouts at BRAVE CF 3 and BRAVE CF 8, and this weekend he will look to shut Mihail Cotruta's lights out as well when they face off in their super lightweight co-main event in the Kingdom of Bahrain at BRAVE CF 60.
The winner of this fight could be in title conversations and potentially face the undisputed champion, Eldar Eldarov.
BRAVE CF 60 takes place at the promotion's headquarters in the Kingdom of Bahrain this Saturday. For more details, visit BraveCF.com.