Flyweight Contender Chris Cariaso Talks UFN 29 Win: “If I Didn’t Win…I’d Definitely be Packing my Bags”
By Kelsey Mowatt
This time last year, Chris Cariaso was positioned near the top of the UFC’s flyweight rankings, thanks to a three win streak and having gone 4-1 to date with the promotion. But following losses to John Moraga at UFC 155 and then Jussier “Formiga” more recently in May, the talented striker was desperately in need of a win at UFC Fight Night 29. Not only did the promotion’s #8 ranked 125’er get back on track by defeating Iliarde Santos, however, he did so by stopping the experienced vet.
“Every fight really, at the end of the day, is a do or die fight,” Cariaso (15-5) said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing whether he felt like his back was against the wall heading into the October 9th card. “But definitely there was that added pressure. I definitely felt like there was that extra bit of tension coming into that fight because both of us were coming off losses, and I knew he was going to bring it…I definitely felt like if I didn’t win, you know, I’d definitely be packing my bags.”
The end of the fight came in the second round, as after Cariaso stunned Santos with a hard right hand earlier in the round, the Brazilian was unable to recover from the series of attacks that followed.
“I hit him with that right hand and I saw him stumble, and that’s when I was like ‘alright, I saw him stumble, I’m going to put some pressure on him right now,” said Cariaso.
As Cariaso noted, Santos was also coming off consecutive losses heading into the fight, as the 33 year-old was defeated by Yuri Alcantara and Ian McCall in his first two Octagon bouts.
“It went down pretty much the way I thought it would,” the 32 year-old Cariaso relayed. “I thought he was going to push the takedowns a little bit more, but he definitely wanted to stand up and bang with me, which is definitely what I like to do.”
“I think that at the end of the day he fought a good fight,” added Cariaso. “But I did think he was going to push the takedowns a little more.”
The approach of Santos was much different than the one which “Formiga” utilized against Cariaso, who turned to his vaunted grappling and jiu-jitsu skills to win a unanimous decision.
“I don’t know. I mean I think guys typically don’t want to stand up,” said Cariaso, when asked if he was glad to see that Santos was willing to engage him on his feet. “I was a little bit surprised but some of his fights come way of knockout, so he definitely has knockout power.”
With the win Cariaso will likely be tapped to fight another top contender next. Since the rest of the 2013, UFC schedule is nearly filled out, chances are it will be sometime in early 2014.
“I would possibly like to fight the winner of the (Scott) Jorgensen and (Ian) McCall fight,” said Cariaso, while referring to the flyweight bout that will take place at UFC on FOX 9 on December 14th. “I think that both of those guys match-up really well with me and I think that would be an awesome fight right there.”