Samara Santos has faced two of the best strawweights on the ONE Championship roster, champion Xiong Jing Nan and #4 ranked Ayaka Miura. The Brazilian was beaten on both occasions but she was forced to move up a division in order to take these fights.

Santos says she has always been an atomweight and the 27 year old will be returning to her natural weight division on Friday when she faces Meng Bo at ONE: ‘Unbreakable’,

“When I got the chance to join ONE, it was in the weight category above. Now I’m coming back to my actual weight that I feel best at,” she said

She faces another difficult fight against #2 ranked atomweight. Santos describes her opponent as,

“A sensational athlete. She has good hands, she is great at striking and good in the exchanges.”

Samara Santos punches Xiong Jing Nan

New camp

The Brazilian has switched training camps since she last competed and says she has been working on her standup game and specifically her boxing,

“I changed my team from my last fight and we’ve been working a lot more on boxing, so my exchanges will be a lot cleaner, a lot better. We always work on jiu-jitsu, but you will see a lot of improvement in my boxing.”

But Santos acknowledges that in order to win a striking match with Bo she would need a bit of luck,

“I think her striking game is better but I am not backing down from that. We are both women at the same weight, so you never know. There is always a way, maybe in an exchange a punch gets in there.”

Santos is not going to rely on landing that lucky punch. The Brazilian believes she will have a big advantage on the ground and plans to exploit it,

“I am going to use my jiu-jitsu against her. That is where I see my opportunity to win,” she said.

Samara Santos training

Persistent and dedicated

After losing six of her last seven fights Santos has lost a lot of the momentum she had after making a very successful start to her MMA career. The 27 year old wants to turn things around with a win this week and says she is constantly improving even if this hasn’t been reflected in recent results,

“I am persistent and dedicated, that’s how I am as a fighter and as a person. I can show that I am ready to get that win, and show that I evolved.”

Santos and her team have spent a lot of time preparing for this fight and she believes they have come up with the right strategy to defeat the Chinese fighter,

“I’ve been training really hard and we’ve studied her well  We focused on clinching strategy for this fight, a lot of wrestling and jiu-jitsu because we know her strengths are her hands and the exchanges.”

A third straight loss would put her promotional future in doubt. But a win could potentially secure Santos a spot in the upcoming atomweight Grand Prix and she sees this as the perfect opportunity to change her career trajectory,

“I am glad that I have this opportunity. I think it is a great way to showcase my skills and a good opportunity for my career.”