Richie Santiago and Raymond Yanez haven’t battled each other yet, but they already know each other.
The two were supposed to fight earlier this year but their clash was postponed due to a late injury. They will finally meet at CES MMA 41 at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., on January 27.
One of New England’s brightest prospects, Milford, Mass.’s Santiago kicked off his pro career this year with back-to-back, first-round finishes in the CES MMA cage.
While Santiago respects Yanez and calls him a tough, experienced opponent, he doesn’t see himself falling short in January.
“I want to knock this kid out, to be honest. I’m going to go in there, I’m going to swing at him, and I’m pretty confident he’s going to go down,” said Santiago, a nominee for CES MMA’s Devin Carrier Breakout Fighter of the Year. “I’m going in there to try to take his head off.”
After an impressive win over Rhode Island fan-favorite Joe Reverdes at CES 40, Yanez hopes to follow in the paths of Ohioans Chris Curtis, Dom Steele and Julian Lane, who have won CES MMA Championships.
First up for the Columbus, Ohio brawler is Santiago.
“I was hoping to get a chance to fight Richie after our fight fell through. I’m going to have a full camp now, and I’m going to be in even better shape than before,” said Yanez, who enters the cage for the 13th time. “We can stand and bang if that’s what he wants to do.”