Santiago draws tough card for debut fight
Verbal agreements for the bout are in place and contracts are expected to be issued shortly. Sources informed Heavy.com of the news on Thursday afternoon, and MMAJunkie.com confirmed the story on Saturday morning.
Santiago was released from Sengoku after requesting that his contract be terminated. His last appearance came in August with a vitory over Kazuo Misaki. Santiago became the first-ever Sengoku middleweight champ by defeating Misaki in early 2009.
He’s not drawing an easy opponent in his first UFC bout, either.
Santiago will face Brian Stann, the rising middleweight star who defeated Chris Leben at UFC 125 to vault himself up the contender’s ladder. UFC matchmaker Joe Silva tried multiple times to book a bout between Stann and Wanderlei Silva, but Silva refused the fight. “The Axe Murderer” told UFC officials that he didn’t want to be the bad guy and felt he’d have no choice but to assume that role while taking on Stann. Silva has indicated that he’d rather retire than fight Stann.