Now, the first fight in that losing streak for Santos came against Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title. Santos lost a split decision in a fight where he completely tore his knee apart in the first round.
Since returning, he hasn’t looked like the same fighter. Santos dropped fights to Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic since returning from injury. This main event against Walker was a good opportunity to reset against a lower ranked opponent.
Now, Walker is very dangerous and he showed that on Saturday night. There were some definite spots where Walker gave Santos some trouble at UFC Vegas 38, but nothing that Santos wasn’t able to get through.
Santos landed some good shots and clean counters throughout the main event. In the end, he walked away with a unanimous decision victory and now he’s finally back on track.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 38?
When Santos heard his name called, it was the first time in two and a half years that he won a fight in the UFC. The last win he had came against the current champion Jan Blachowicz.
With a win under his belt, now it’s time for Santos to try and build back towards a title shot. So, what should the UFC do with him next? I don’t think his performance was impressive enough to get him close to title contention.
He likely will need another win or even two before he gets to that point. In terms of a next fight, I would look at UFC 267 at the end of the month. Magomed Ankalaev (15-1) is taking on Volkan Oezdemir (17-5).
Whoever wins that fight would be a great next step for Santos. A win over one of those two then perhaps you could put him in a title eliminator. However, he’s going to need to impress more in his next outing.