UFC 259 Preview: Thiago Santos – Aleksandar Rakic

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 06: Thiago Santos of Brazil looks on prior to a UFC Light Heavyweight Title bout against Jon Jones at T-Mobile Arena on July 06, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Kicking off the UFC 259 main card is a pivotal matchup in the light heavyweight division. Top four light heavyweight contenders, Thiago Santos (21-8) and Aleksandar Rakic (13-2) will battle it out as they look to take a step towards a UFC title shot.

If you want to just look at someone who appears to be a future champion at 205, look no further than Aleksandar Rakic. Rakic has all of the tools and the attributes he needs to become a UFC champion.

He possesses great striking with power, he has a really good ground game and once he’s on top of you, it’s hard to get back up. He’s very big for the weight class and he also has really good cardio to go with it.

Since making his UFC debut back in 2017, Rakic is 5-1 with the lone loss being a split decision to Volkan Oezdemir. Rakic is coming off of a dominant win against Anthony “Lionheart” Smith in his last fight.

Thiago Santos needs a rebound at UFC 259. Santos is the second ranked contender in the light heavyweight division, but he’s looking at a potential three-fight losing streak if he can’t get it done tomorrow night.

Santos fought Jon Jones to a split decision in 2019. However, he completely tore his knee apart in that fight. He returned a few months ago to face Glover Teixeira and he didn’t look like the same guy.

The power was still there, but the movement of Santos was not. His movement and confidence play right into his power which makes him so dangerous to other light heavyweights. If he doesn’t have that at UFC 259, he could be in for a long night.

UFC 259 Prediction

This is a fight that I’m completely on the fence about. Thiago Santos has all the skill needed to get the win here, but I just don’t know what Thiago Santos we will see tomorrow night. Is his movement going to be improved? Will he feel more stable on those legs?

We know that Aleksandar Rakic is going to move forward at UFC 259. Rakic will put pressure on Santos and he’s going to come heavy with his shots. Santos still has the power to hurt Rakic with counters, however, if he doesn’t have good movement, he’s going to be a sitting duck.

I really like Aleksandar Rakic in this matchup considering where both men are in their careers. Now, would it shock me to see Santos land a bomb and knock out Rakic tomorrow night? Absolutely not.

However, at the end of the day, I think Rakic is going to move forward and will not let Santos get off those power shots. I’m also expecting a few takedowns from Rakic. I think Rakic gets this fight down for good in the third to pickup the TKO win at UFC 259.

Prediction: Aleksandar Rakic by TKO – Round 3