With a unanimous decision victory over Igor Svirid, Luis Santos may finally get his long-waited rematch with welterweight world champion “Funky” Ben Askren.
Santos did enough to seal an unanimous decision victory in the main event of ONE: Titles & Titans at the Jakarta Convention Centre, spoiling the welterweight debut of former middleweight world champion Igor “Lionheart” Svirid.
In the first round, there was a prolonged lull in action. Santos took the center of the cage and threw a few kicks while Svirid circled away on the outside. About three and a half minutes into the opening stanza, despite repeated warnings, referee Yuji Shimada halted the contest and gave yellow cards to both mixed martial artists.
When the fight continued, the Brazilian stepped up his aggressiveness. He delivered a high kick that smacked Svirid’s elbow and flung a push kick to the left thigh.
The second round was much of the same, with Sapo acting more as the aggressor and the Kazakhstani seeming more content on circling away and counter punching, though he didn’t throw any punches. The crowd at Indonesia’s sold-out Jakarta Convention Center grew restless, and with good reason.
After failing to engage with Santos, Shimada temporarily stopped the contest and gave Svirid a second yellow card. When the match continued, “Lionheart” used his fancy footwork to dodge the Brazilian’s attacks, but ate a thunderous leg kick towards the end of the round that nearly buckled him.
From there, Santos took him to “Elbow City,” as he kept dropping heavy gournd and pound and opened up quite the gash. Svirid rolled away, but the BJJ black belt Santos immediately took Svirid’s back and sunk in a rear naked choke. Trying desperately not to tap, the Kazakhstani mixed martial artist continued to roll a few more times and, somehow, shook Santos off of him.
After the cagseside doctors inspected Svirid’s face and cleared him to continue, the fight resumed. Santos immediately went for another takedown, but in a last-ditch effort, the former middleweight title holder sprawled, delivered a few hard punches, and put the Brazilian on his back.
Santos improves to 63-9-1 1NC and a rematch against undefeated Askren looks more and more likey. Santos fought Askren at ONE: Valor of Champions in April 2015. That bout was called off due to an eye poke and ruled a no contest.