For his first fight of 2016, there’s not much more Bellator lightweight Saad Awad could have hoped for.
Entering his bout against Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos as a late replacement, Awad was able to pick up a first round TKO, getting him back on track after a loss to Patricky “Pitbull” Freire to close out 2015.
“I wouldn’t say that I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be, because I’m always prepared, but I’m happy it went fast,” Awad told MMAWeekly.com. “I was a little bit jittery because it was a bigger fight, a bigger name, a bigger fight, and it was last-minute.
“I just knew that I had to go out there and perform the way I can perform – and I did it – so I’m happy with the way I performed.”
Awad feels his win over Santos helped make a statement, and show the promotion and fans alike that he’s an action fighter who is willing to meet any challenge that’s presented to him.
“I’ve always known that I could have done it, but I believe it showed Bellator and the fans that watched that I’m a real fighter,” said Awad. “If I make sure I’m 100% healthy, and a fight is presented to me, I’ll take the fight.”
Initially Awad (19-7) was hoping a title shot would come his way after the win over Santos, but instead he’ll be facing fellow longtime Bellator 155-pound fighter Derek Anderson (13-2) in a main card bout on September 26 in Anaheim, California.
“It’s going to be on one of the bigger cards, and that should bring some attention to it,” Awad said. “Hopefully I go out there and put on a solid performance, and once I do that it should open up some eyes and get me the title shot I want or some fights against big names.
“Just don’t blink. If I see an opening I’m throwing something, some hammers. Who knows where I’m going to throw them from, but I know if they land, it’s going to be a short night for (Anderson).”
While previously Awad had missed out on title shots for whatever reason, he intends now to make sure that he cannot be denied championship opportunities by putting on exciting fights.
“I was on a pretty good winning streak, and I had it in my head that as long as I kept winning, (a title shot) should come, and I was just kind of waiting for it,” he said. “Now I’m just going to out there and not try to just win – but win impressively – and that’s going to make all the difference on whether I get a title shot or not.”