Mark Cherico vs Mike Santiago – This Tuesday, August 22nd, Pittsburgh’s own Mark Cherico will compete on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series for a shot at a UFC contract. Cherico is set to face Mike Santiago from Top Notch Fitness in Illinois. This fight is guaranteed to be exciting. The two have a combined 39 professional fights between them and only 8 have gone the distance (Cherico has only done it once).

Finishing opponents in 8 of his 11 victories  (5 of the 8 by submission), Cherico is always going for the kill. However, this style cost him his perfect record when he was submitted by Brian Kelleher (currently in the UFC) back in November of 2014.

Since the loss, Cherico has grown into a more cerebral fighter and I don’t mean that with the connotation of boring. He is smarter and has learned from his loss. That’s what good fighters do and what he must continue to do against Santiago.

Mike Santiago is an exciting mid-western fighter and has finished 14 of his 18 opponents, including 9 by submission. However, if old Cherico was aggressive, Santiago is reckless.

7 of his 9 losses have come via submission and 5 of those 7 were inside of the first three minutes of the fight. However, like Cherico, Santiago has learned from his mistakes and has not dropped a fight since January 2014. Has he learned enough to deal with someone who possesses the submission skill set of Cherico?

Ricardo Lamas has split time training at Top Notch Fitness and the extent of his training with Santiago is unknown, but there has to be an impact. Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for Mark Cherico vs Mike Santiago:

For Santiago to win…

Mark Cherico vs Mike SantiagoHe needs to dirty up this fight with striking and borrow from Lamas and be a bully. If he can inflict enough damage on the feet, he can go to the ground without much reservation.

For Cherico to win… 

Mark Cherico vs Mike Santiago

He needs to be patient. If Santiago wants to initiate the pressure, then Cherico needs to keep moving and avoid being pressed against the cage. When an opening presents itself, Cherico needs to seize it and take Santiago down. Once on the ground, I believe Cherico has a distinct advantage.

Mark Cherico vs Mike Santiago

Tale of the Tape:

Mark Cherico (11-1)

Nickname: “The Pride of Bloomfield”

Age: 31

Height: 5’8

Weight: 145Current Streak: W4

Mike Santiago (18-9)

Nickname: N/A

Age: 28

Height: 5’10

Weight: 145

Current Streak: W8


Mike Santiago comes in TOO aggressive and Cherico takes him down with relative ease. Once on the ground, the two battle, but to no avail for Santiago.

Mark Cherico wins via first round submission (rear-naked choke)

*Cherico needs to invent a submission and call it “The Walls of Cherico.” I can see the t-shirt now.

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