MMA Report: The Bottom Line
Sandro has a history of stopping foes in their tracks, many of them in violent fashion. The 35-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt rose to global prominence in 2010, as he scored four first-round knockouts in the span of five fights, three of them in less than a minute. More than one opponent was stretchered. The Nova Uniao representative last appeared at Bellator 64 in April, when he defeated Alexandre Bezerra by split decision in the tournament semifinals.
“I’m not scared of Marlon at all,” Straus said. “I have respect for what he’s been able to accomplish in the sport, but I know I can beat him. To me, he’s just another opponent standing in front of me. I definitely feel like I can beat this guy. I go off of what I’ve seen from him recently and not anything he’s been able to do in the past. The Marlon Sandro that I’ve seen lately, I feel like I can beat that guy.”
Former Sengoku champion Marlon Sandro awaits Straus in the Bellator Fighting ChampionshipsSeason 6 featherweight tournament final at Bellator 68 on Friday at Caesars Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. The winner receives a $100,000 paycheck, along with a crack at reigning featherweight titleholder Pat Curran. Straus wants a finish, even though he does not expect one to materialize.
“I’m hoping that this fight with Marlon doesn’t have to go to a second or third round,” he said. “If it does, I’m just going to make sure that I’m constantly moving, constantly pressing the action and keeping my hands in his face from start to finish.
Straus, eight years younger than his Brazilian counterpart, believes he has a significant advantage in the conditioning department.
“I feel like I have the bigger gas tank in this fight with Marlon,” he said. “I want to go out there and wear him down. I also feel like I’m bigger, faster, and my punches are a lot straighter, where he tends to throw those big looping punches.
“Every single round in this fight with Marlon, when I go back to my corner, I need to know that I won that round, not that it was a close round or that it could have gone either way,” Straus added. “I need to know every single round, without a doubt, that I dominated Marlon.”
A Team Vision representative based in Ohio, Straus has grown accustomed to the tournament limelight. The 27-year-old Cincinnati native reached the final of the Season 4 draw before losing toPatricio Freire by unanimous decision. It remains his only defeat in his past 16 outings.
“There’s a huge difference between me now and me when I fought Patricio,” Straus said. “The biggest difference is that I believe in myself this time around. It just felt like a blessing to even be in that first tournament final against Patricio, but now I know in my heart that I belong here. Now, being here isn’t enough. I need to win this final and get that belt around my waist.”