Current HFC Lightweight Champion Mike Santiago Set for Tomorrow’s Bout at Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series
Following a loss by submission to current UFC lightweight Frankie Perez (10-4), Mike Santiago fell to a middling record of 10-9 back in early 2014. Many people from various MMA circles predicted that Santiago’s window of opportunity for reaching the sport’s pinnacle had been effectively shut. But the 28-year-old reigning Hoosier Fight Club (HFC) lightweight champion and winner of 10 consecutive bouts will have a chance to prove critics wrong when he squares off with Mark Cherico (11-1) in the featherweight class tomorrow at Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series Week 7.
During his current winning streak, Santiago has racked up nine finishes with seven wins by submission and two KO/TKOs including an impressive KO/TKO on punches in the first round against Nick Wayne to win his current belt at HFC 33 in Chicago. Santiago has ended eight of these nine finishes in the first round.
Santiago never won more than two consecutive bouts during his first 19 professional fights. All of this changed when a string of losses to UFC veteran Phillipe Nover, Mike Medrano, and the aforementioned Perez had Santiago and his career gasping for air.
He capped off 2014 with consecutive first round submissions to earn a shot at the vacant Ring of Combat featherweight belt. Again, Santiago claimed a first round submission victory over his opponent, Kenny Foster. He defended this title twice over Mervin Rodriguez and Lester Caslow.
In late 2016, Santiago defeated Bill Kamery during the main event at HFC 31 to claim the featherweight championship. He later vacated the belt to fight for and win the HFC lightweight crown.
Santiago represents Team Top Notch and fights out of Northlake, Illinois. Santiago had been scheduled to fight Austin Hubbard at HFC 34 on September 9 but was forced to cancel when this opportunity arose.