This past weekend at UFC Vegas 13, Thiago Santos (21-8) made his return after being out for well over a year due to knee injuries. Santos pushed Jon Jones to the limit in their title fight and he did it after tearing his knee up in the second round of their fight.
For that reason, many were excited to see the formal UFC title challenger return to action. The general thought was that he would be able to finish his opponent. His opponent was another former title challenger in 41 year old Glover Teixeira (32-7).
Teixeira has turned his UFC career completely around. The 41 year old was looking for his fifth straight victory inside the octagon. The fight started how most thought it would. A big Santos flurry wobbled Teixeira badly. However, the veteran maintained his composure and used his wrestling to get the fight down.
Santos really had no answer for the ground game of Teixeira. After that initial flurry, Teixeira went on to dominate the rest of the first and second rounds. Then, Santos floored Teixeira with a massive left hook to start the third. He appeared close to be finishing the fight.
Santos emptied the tanks looking for the finish, but Teixeira wouldn’t go away. Once again, Teixeira got Santos down, and got immediately to his back. Once there, Santos found himself in rear naked choke where he was forced to tap.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 13?
This was not the UFC return that Thiago Santos was looking for. There were moments in the fight were he looked sensational. However, those were outdone by his lack of defense on the ground and the wrestling skills of Glover Teixiera.
If Santos would have come out and stopped Teixeira in the first round, he would have made a really strong case for a title shot. However, now he must go back to the drawing board and look to improve for his next UFC outing.
In looking at the rankings, there are a couple of fights that could make sense for Santos. A fight with Aleksandar Rakic is one that I think a lot of people would be interested in. Or perhaps, Santos could welcome back Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in his next fight.