At 37 years old, Spanish bantamweight David Aranda Santacana has proven that even if you get into a sport later in life, that doesn’t mean you can’t make an impact.
With eight submission finishes in his nine-fight undefeated career thus far, Santacana’s five-year career has started out strong. And while it may be easy for people to label him a ground specialist, Santacana feels that isn’t the only place he’s solid.
“I have been working on my stand-up a lot,” Santacana told MMAWeekly.com. “People think I am a pure grappler, but I want to showcase some of my striking skills too.”
So impressive has Santacana (9-0) been that he’s been signed to One FC and will make his debut for the promotion in a feature bout on its Dec. 6 show in Manila, Philippines, against top prospect Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon (11-3).
“I think there is pressure, but I use it to motivate me,” said Santacana. “I am going to Asia and competing against a hometown favorite in front of 20,000 Filipino fans. It may be a daunting task for some, but I am embracing it.”
When it comes to the match-up itself, Santacana feels he’ll have to be ready to work all 15 minutes if he wants to get the win.
“I know (Belingon) is a good striker with very unique punches and kicks,” said Santacana.
“He is also very resilient and in his last fight he was almost down and out, but came back strong in the third round. I will need to put pressure on him for all 15 minutes, make sure I stick to my game plan all the way, and not make any mental mistakes. If I do that, I am very confident I can win.”
Having made a name for himself in Europe, Santacana is looking towards making an even bigger international splash should he pick up the win on Dec. 6.
“In my last bout, I defeated a very experienced veteran (in Olivier Pastor),” said Santacana. “I think Belingon is on par with what that guy offers.
“Belingon might lack as much experience, but his natural explosiveness is second to none and he is improving rapidly. It will be a huge statement win for me if I can defeat him and start me off on the right footing in One FC.”