On the rise: Marlon Sandro

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Name: Marlon Sandro Professional Record: 11-0 Height: 5-feet-6 Weight: 145 pounds Discipline: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai Notable Wins: Daiki Hata, Miki Shida

Brazil's team Nova Uniao has produced some of the best fighters in the world including former Shooto Champion Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro, UFC fighter Thales Leites and IFL Champion Wagnney Fabiano Santos. Another name that may find its way onto the list is undefeated featherweight standout Marlon Sandro.

The Rio de Janeiro athlete started fighting at a young age of 17. Sandro practiced Capoeira early on and then transitioned into Jiu-Jitsu under the tutelage of Andre Pederneiras and Rafael Carino.

"I always liked the idea [of fighting]," said Sandro after mentioning he was influenced by action movies starring Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Lee. "I always wanted to do judo but as I didn't have the money nor knew where to take classes. I started with Capoeira."

As a fighter, Sandro is inspired by several other fighters. "I started with Randy Couture. Later, once I started training MMA with Shaolin [Vitor Ribeiro]...with his ground technique and all, I started finding inspiration in his style. Joao Roque as well."

For those who have never seen Sandro fight, he describes his style as "aggressive; more technical than aggressive. Lately I've been looking to show more of my aggressive side, which is what people want to see. I prefer for my fights to take place on the ground."

Sandro certainly displayed his aggressive side with an impressive knock out win over tough veteran Miki Shida back in March. The win increased his unblemished record to 11-0. The 31-year old fighter commented about the pressures of retaining a perfect record.

"These days I don't feel any more pressure. When I had seven or eight fights I did. Not anymore. I think that is because I've seen what my friends go through when they win and lose and I know they come back from losses," revealed the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. "Now I just think about my fight."

With two impressive wins over former title contender Daiki Hata and Shida under the Pancrase banner, Sandro has positioned himself next in line for the 145-pound King of Pancrase title. To win the Pancrase featherweight belt would be a crowning achievement in Marlon's career. However, his potential for future success won't end there. Bigger organizations and opportunities await the Nova Uniao fighter in the U.S. and in Japan.

"I think Dream and Sengoku are much closer to me right now than fighting in the United States but I don't discard the possibility of fighting in the U.S. I would love the opportunity to fight there, to expand my horizons," explained Sandro. "I guess it would all come down to getting an offer. As I'm already fighting in Japan, I think I'm much closer to fighting in Dream or Sengoku, which is also a dream of mine."