Coming off a highlight reel third round TKO of Tim Williams last month at UFC Fight Night 135, middleweight Eryk Anders was eager to get back to action, but didn’t anticipate making his return as quickly as he will be.
After an injury sidelined Jimi Manuwa, Anders (11-1) steps in on short notice to take on Thiago Santos (18-6) in a light-heavyweight main event this Saturday at UFC Fight Night 137 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“The UFC came to us this (past) weekend,” Anders told MMAWeekly.com. “I was looking forward to fighting a little later this year, but it’s the fight game so you know how it is.”
With just a week’s worth of notice, Anders notes that while the preparation for the fight with Santos won’t be as involved as previous fights, it will not pose a problem.
“I just fought a few weeks ago, so I’m still in good shape and I’ve been training at Fortis MMA and Xtreme Couture,” said Anders. “(The) focus is looking at his tendencies, seeing what he does in certain situations, so I’ll be well-prepared from the mental side, as well as the physical side. Everything is coming together perfectly.”
As for the fight itself, Anders is relishing the opportunity to face an opponent like Santos.
“I love this match-up; this is the kind of fight I like,” Anders said. “It’s not often I get to go in there and have someone stand toe-to-toe and swing for the fences.
“Guys are usually backing up, running and circling when I fight them, which is frustrating. Santos likes to come forward, which is great, and I’ve just gotta do me. I’m going to make it dirty and keep my defense tight. I’m going to keep my hands up and come out with the win.”
Should Anders come out of his bout this Saturday night healthy, he sees no reason why he can’t return to action at least one more time in 2018.
“I’m wanting to fight at least once before the end of the year,” said Anders. “If we can make that happen, we’ll make it happen. Toronto would be great. If not, I’m trying to fight January at the latest. I’m trying to fight as much as possible.”