Thiago Santos
Marreta

Brazil

Second straight poor effort
Light HeavyweightUFC
March 6, 2021
Santos lost to Aleksandar Rakic via unanimous decision (28-29, 28-29, 27-30) at UFC 259 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
A fight that appeared to be certain fireworks quickly devolved into a snoozer. Fighting for the second time since nearly stunning the world against Jon Jones back in July 2019, Santos looked totally shot. He explosiveness was completely gone, and he was either unable or unwilling to push forward and deliver power shots. The major concern here is that the serious injuries to both knees suffered in the Jones fight has somehow hampered Santos' abilities. The Brazilian is now 37 years of age and certainly wouldn't be the first fighter to have the later portion of his career completely derailed by a major health issue. Santos was on the verge of stunning the MMA world and walking out the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion about a year and a half ago, and he now appears finished. With the UFC cutting bait with aging fighters seemingly every day now, Santos may need to avoid a third straight defeat his next time out in order to save his job. This can be a cruel, cruel sport at times.
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March fight scheduled
Light HeavyweightUFC
November 13, 2020
Santos is expected to face Aleksandar Rakic in a light heavyweight matchup at UFC 259 on March 6, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
The location of the card has not yet been finalized, nor has the fight itself. Santos will be looking for his first win in over a year, as his last two fights have included a split-decision loss against Jon Jones and a submission defeat against Glover Teixeira. Rakic rebounded from the first loss of his UFC career with a unanimous decision victory against Anthony Smith in his most recent match. As of early-January, oddsmakers list Santos as approximately a (+185) betting underdog against the up-and-coming prospect.
Can't grapple with Teixeira
Light HeavyweightUFC
November 7, 2020
Santos lost to Glover Teixeira via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:49 of Round 3 at UFC on ESPN+ 40 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
Santos landed clean early and had Teixeira wobbled, but Teixeira survived by initiating a scramble and shooting for a takedown. Santos put on a few more shots with his back against the cage, but Teixeira eventually picked him up and put him on his back, briefly landing in full mount. Santos fired a bit from his back, but it was Teixeira who spent the rest of the round laying on the ground-and-pound from half guard. Santos threw a few high kicks to open Round 2, but it wasn't long before he was put on his back again. He simply couldn't get back to his feet, likely allowing Teixeira to record a 10-8 round due to a massive accumulation of ground strikes. He was almost choked out in the final seconds, but was saved by the bell. The biggest moment for Santos came early in Round 3, as he met a Teixeira takedown attempt with a massive left hook. He followed up with some ground-and-pound of his own, but Teixeira miraculously reversed position and took his back. After flattening him out, he sunk in another deep choke on an exhausted Santos and forced the tap. While Santos couldn't get it done here after a 16-month layoff, he remains one of the most feared light heavyweights on the roster, and his power is evident. He'll continue to work on his jiu-jitsu and should be back in a big fight in short order.
Enters fight week as favorite
Light HeavyweightUFC
November 2, 2020
Santos is approximately a (-230) betting favorite for his scheduled light heavyweight matchup against Glover Teixeira this Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
This was a matchup originally scheduled for September 12, but it had to be rescheduled after Teixeira tested positive for COVID-19. With a month for Teixeira to put the virus behind him, the two will now finally clash to determine one of the next top contenders at 205 pounds. By the time fight night arrives, it will have been roughly 16 months since Santos last stepped into the Octagon. He gave an incredible performance in a losing effort to champion Jon Jones despite suffering multiple serious knee injuries in the middle stages of the fight. He ultimately ended up with a split-decision loss, which resets his title journey at the age of 36. Santos will now set his sights on a fellow Brazilian veteran, and one that happens to have racked up four UFC wins in a row -- three via stoppage. Santos will have statistical advantages in both striking offense and defense, though Teixeira has better marks in terms of takedown volume and submission attempts. Both men stand at exactly 6-foot-2 with a 76-inch reach. Even though UFC President Dana White seemingly has other plans for the immediate future of the light heavyweight division, a the winner of this fight will certainly have a solid case for being next in line.
Teixeira fight being finalized
Light HeavyweightUFC
September 24, 2020
The UFC is finalizing a light heavyweight matchup between Santos and Glover Teixeira for November 7, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
This fight has been postponed two different times for issues surrounding both fighters and COVID-19. Santos most recently tested positive last week and was forced to cancel the scheduled October 3 bout in Abu Dhabi.
Tests positive for COVID-19
Light HeavyweightUFC
September 15, 2020
Santos will not be able to fight in the October 3 bout against Glover Teixeira after testing positive for COVID-19, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
This bout was originally scheduled for Sept. 12, but Teixeira had a positive COVID-19 test. Now Santos' positive test has cancelled the new date of Oct. 3. It's not clear at this point whether the UFC will try to rebook this fight or find a new opponent for Teixeira on Oct. 3.