UFC booking headliner between Thiago Santos and Magomed Ankalaev

The UFC is close to finalizing a big time headliner in their light heavyweight division for the first part of 2021. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this afternoon that the UFC was closing in on booking a headliner between former title challenger Thiago Santos (22-9) and Magomed Ankalaev (16-1).

The matchup is expected to headline a UFC Fight Night on March 12th. Santos will be headlining his second consecutive card and he will be looking to pick up his second consecutive win. The last time we saw Santos was last month when he headlined against Johnny Walker.

Santos was able to win a decision that night. The win snapped a three fight losing streak that dated back to his UFC title shot against Jon Jones. During that loss to Jones, Santos completely tore his knee apart.

Since returning from that knee injury, Santos hasn’t looked like the same fighter. However, he looked better in this last performance against Walker. Now, he gets the tough task of taking on the surging Magomed Ankalaev.

UFC’s Ankalaev the real deal?

When Magomed Ankalaev makes the walk on March 19th, he’s going to be searching for his ninth consecutive win in the light heavyweight division. His winning streak started after an odd fight with Paul Craig where he lost in the final seconds of the fight by submission.

Outside of that, Ankalaev has been flawless inside the octagon. in his last performance, he took on former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 267. Ankalaev completely outclassed Oezdemir on his way to winning a decision.

The UFC has been gradually brining Ankalaev along as they see a ton of potential in the Russian light heavyweight. Now, he’s going to get the biggest test of his career when he takes on the tough Thiago Santos.

If Ankalaev can dominate Santos the way he’s dominated others, he’s going to shoot straight to the top of the division. This win could put Ankalaev squarely in the title picture at 205.

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