Most Valuable Promotions (MVP) announced today that top 118-pound contenders and former world title challengers Alexandro “El Peque” Santiago and Antonio “Carita” Nieves will meet again in a 10-round rematch of their exciting 2016 showdown on the Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva SHOWTIME PPV undercard on Saturday, October 29, live from Desert Diamond Arena (formerly Gila River Arena) in Glendale, Ariz., just outside Phoenix. Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.
Nieves, who previously faced unified junior bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue, met Santiago for the first time on the SHOWTIME developmental series, SHOBOX: The New Generation in August 2016. Highly touted prospects at the time, they became top contenders in their divisions fighting to a very competitive split decision draw. Now, ranked in the top-15 in the deep bantamweight division, Santiago and Nieves look to get back into title contention with their upcoming matchup. Santiago, who was stepping up in weight and stepping in as a last-minute replacement, out-landed NABO titleholder Nieves in power punches from rounds six to 10, but the late surge was not enough for the Tijuana, Mexico native to win the contest with the bout resulting in judges’ scores of 96-94 Nieves 96-94 Santiago, 95-95.
The now 26-year-old Santiago (26-3-5, 13 KOs) also showed his potential in September 2018 when he fought former IBF 115-pound World Champion Jerwin Ancajas to a split-draw (118-110 Santiago, 116-112 Ancajas, 114-114). Santiago, who seldom breaks training camp, suffered his first defeat in eight years last November when he squared off against unbeaten bantamweight contender Gary Antonio Russell on SHOWTIME.
“This is an amazing opportunity for me. I’m thankful to my promoter Paco Damián, MVP and SHOWTIME for making it possible,” said Santiago. “It means a lot to me. Antonio Nieves is a world class fighter and I have a lot of respect for him, but we have unfinished business and this time I am not leaving it in the judges’ hands. I’m training very hard and I’m confident that after this fight we will be in line to face any of the great world champions in my division.”
Nieves (20-3-2, 11 KOs), of Cleveland, Ohio, displayed his superior boxing skills and hand speed in his last outing against previously unbeaten Filipino prospect Judy Flores earning a convincing unanimous decision victory. Known for his technical skills and ability to measure his opponents, Nieves has never shied away from top opposition. He suffered his first defeat via controversial decision at the hands of Nikolai Potapov on SHOBOX in 2017.
“Jake is from my hometown, and I plan to represent Cleveland alongside him on the world stage. This fight will steal the show: it’s Puerto Rico versus Mexico all over again,” said Nieves, whose parents are Puerto Rican. “We fought a super close fight six years ago and since then we both have had similar paths. We have both fought world-class competition, we have both fought for the world championship. We both know that a win here will catapult us back into world-title contention. We both have lost some very close decisions along the way. This fight won’t end in a decision. I’m the bigger man. I will walk him down. He won’t last 10 rounds this time. I’m not leaving this up to the judges.”
In a battle of undefeated heavyweights, Jeremiah “Dream Land” Milton (6-0, 5 KOs) will square off against Quintin Sumpter (5-0, 3 KOs) in a six-round bout in the non-televised portion of the Silva vs. Paul undercard. Milton, a former sparring partner of heavyweight titleholder Tyson Fury and contenders Luis Ortiz and Joe Joyce, and Sumpter, a former college football player, were originally scheduled to meet on August 6 on the Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr. undercard before the fight was canceled due to Rahman’s inability to meet the contracted weight.
The Las Vegas-based 6-foot-4 Milton turned pro in August 2020 with a devastating 75-second, first-round knockout of Dennis Vance Jr. The Tulsa, Okla., native was a 2019 U.S. Olympic Trials Silver Medalist. He will face a sizeable challenge in the six-foot, 220-pound Brooklyn born and raised Sumpter who previously played defensive end for the Northeastern State University NCAA Division II football team. Sumpter now trains out of Pittsfield, Mass. Also in action that night, will be top prospect Eliezer Silva (1-0), of Los Angeles, Calif., who made a successful pro debut against Terry Roscoe in a four-round bout last September. He will square off against Phillip “Fresh” Carmouche (2-3), of Las Vegas, in a four-round super welterweight bout.
International superstar and serial risk-taker Paul will face the biggest challenge of his career when he takes on UFC legend and accomplished boxer Silva in an eight-round bout at a catchweight of 187 pounds. In the co-main event, teenage sensation Ashton Sylve will put his knockout streak on the line against Braulio Rodriguez in an eight-round lightweight bout contested at 133 pounds. In undercard action, elite UFC striker Uriah Hall and former NFL star running back Le’Veon Bell will make their pro debuts in a four-round cruiserweight bout contracted at 195 pounds. Chris Avila, a disciple of UFC superstar Nate Diaz, will square off against “Doctor Mike” Varshavski, a board-certified family physician and social media influencer, in a four-round cruiserweight bout contracted at 185 pounds to open the pay-per-view.