Brazilian welterweight contender Elizeu Dos Santos has won his last seven fights. China’s Li Jingliang plans to put an end that win-streak. The pair will meet in the co-main event of the under-the-radar UFC Shenzhen card this Saturday in Jingliang’s native China.
This is a big opportunity for the Chinese fighter nicknamed “The Leech”, as dos Santos currently holds the No. 14 spot in the UFC welterweight rankings. Jingliang has been seeking a ranked opponent for some time, and was very excited when the opportunity was finally offered.
“I was very excited when I heard the news [of this matchup],” he said. “I’ve been fighting for it every step of the way since 2014.”
Dos Santos’ station in the UFC welterweight rankings is well-deserved. The Brazilian has established himself as one of the most dangerous and unpredictable fighters in the division, and Jingliang is excited to mix it up with him.
“I think dos Santos is well-rounded athlete,” he said of his foe. “We have a similar fight style. I switched to kickboxing more in recent years, so I think we will put on a great fight for the audience.”
While Jingliang sees similarities between himself and his opponent, he believes he possesses the carefully-sharpened tools to end his foe’s win-streak.
“I have tailored my skills against Dos Santos,” he said. “I have three advantages, actually. Right now, I’m at the right place, the right time in my home country, and I am very confident that I will win.”
Fighting in mainland China, as Jingliang suggests, is a big deal. He’s thrilled to be competing in front of his countrymen, and hopes the UFC makes many more trips to the country in the future.
“The fight is taking place in China, my whole team is in China supporting me and I’m in my home country,” he said. “I hope there are more opportunities like this in China in the future.”
With a legion of Chinese faithful behind him, Li Jingliang feels well-prepared to derail dos Santos’ win-streak and set himself up for more big opportunities against ranked welterweights.
“I aim to move up the rankings and win the championship one day,” he said of his goals for the future.
Li Jingliang vs. Elizeu Dos Santos, along with the entire UFC Shenzhen card, will air on ESPN+.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/28/2019.