After disappointing performance at UFC Vegas 50, what’s next for Thiago Santos?

This past weekend in the main event of UFC Vegas 50 we saw a battle between two top light heavyweight contenders. Former title challenger Thiago Santos (22-10) was looking to derail the surging Magomed Ankalaev (17-1).

Entering UFC Vegas 50, I thought the fight could go one of two ways. In the first scenario, I saw both men being very technical and a little gun-shy which would lead to a relatively boring fight ending in a decision.

In the second scenario, someone would get clipped and we’d see a TKO finish. Well, we almost got the second one at the hands of Thiago Santos. In the second round, Santos was able to drop and hurt Ankalaev.

However, that was really the only time he had some serious momentum at UFC Vegas 50. For the most part, we saw a technical battle with Magomed Ankalaev getting the better of the striking from the outside. In the end, Ankalaev got the decision win in a rather underwhelming fight.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 50?

For Thiago Santos, this was just another disappointing performance. When Santos first made the jump up to light heavyweight from middleweight, he looked like a destroyer. He even scored a TKO win over Jan Blachowicz.

That led him to a title shot with Jon Jones. However, Santos would completely tear his knee apart in that fight. We haven’t seen the same Thiago Santos in the UFC since the knee injury.

Upon returning from that injury, Santos is now just 1-3 with the lone win coming in another underwhelming fight against Johnny Walker. So, after this latest loss, what is next for the former title challenger.

Honestly, it’s really hard to say what should be next. Perhaps a fight with fellow title challenger Dominick Reyes is in order whenever Reyes returns. That could be something that the UFC looks into with the winner getting back on track while the loser would have to take a long look at their career.

Time will tell, but time is not on Santos’ side. If he wants to make another run towards the UFC title, he needs to turn things around and do it quickly.

What’s next for Magomed Ankalaev after win at UFC Vegas 50?

This past weekend in the main event of UFC Vegas 50, we saw a pivotal matchup in the light heavyweight division. Top light heavyweights Magomed Ankalaev (17-1) and Thiago Santos (22-10) battled it out to try and take a step closer to the title.

Now, heading into UFC Vegas 50, I thought this fight had a potential to be slow. Yes, both men have tremendous striking and power, but both men are also very calculated. When neither is very risky, you risk having a fight that can lean on the boring side.

Unfortunately for UFC fans that’s what happened. Now, we did see some excitement in the middle rounds when Santos dropped Ankalaev. I was really curious to see how Ankalaev would respond.

The next round, Ankalaev became slightly more aggressive and kept Santos at range. Overall, there really weren’t a ton of big moments outside of that at UFC Vegas 50. We mostly saw Ankalaev get the better of exchanges that were few and far between which earned him the unanimous decision win.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 50?

Let’s be honest, the win at UFC Vegas 50 doesn’t do a great deal for Ankalaev. Sure, it’s another really solid win that solidifies him in the top half of the UFC’s light heavyweight division, but nobody is demanding he fights for the title next.

He really leaves this past weekend in about the same spot that he was in. So, what does the UFC do with him next? To me, there’s a rather obvious choice in terms of next opponents and that’s another former title challenger.

The UFC should absolutely book Anklaev with Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (36-16). Smith has looked sensational in his last three fights and none of them have gone into the second round. He’s made a massive statement showing he’s still at the top of the division.

Lionheart would really give Ankalaev the true test I think he needs. Thiago Santos of a few years ago could’ve done that, but it’s clear he’s not the same guy he used to be. Book Ankalaev and Lionheart and the winner should be looking good for a title shot.

UFC Vegas 50 Preview: Thiago Santos – Magomed Ankalaev

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 50, we will see a pivotal battle in the light heavyweight division. Top contenders will look to take another step towards a title shot as Thiago Santos (22-9) takes on Magomed Ankalaev (16-1).

This is a huge fight for both men and for the shallow light heavyweight division. In his last fight, Thiago Santos was able to win a decision over Johnny Walker. That decision win snapped a three-fight losing streak that dated back to Santos’ UFC title shot.

In that title shot, he tore his knee completely and he really hasn’t been the same fighter since. He’s hoping to prove the doubters wrong tomorrow night by knocking off the very impressive Magomed Ankalaev.

Ankalaev has nearly been perfect since joining the UFC. Had he been able to hold on just a couple of seconds longer in his octagon debut, he wouldn’t have been submitted by Paul Craig and he would’ve entered this contest unbeaten.

That said, Ankalaev has looked sensational since that loss. He comes into UFC Vegas 50 riding a seven-fight win streak.

UFC Vegas 50 Prediction

When Thiago Santos first came up to the UFC’s light heavyweight division, his explosiveness and his power really set him apart. He was incredibly dangerous and he proved that by scoring a knockout victory over former champion Jan Blachowicz.

However, as mentioned above, he hasn’t been the same since the injury. We haven’t seen the explosiveness we used to and we haven’t seen the same power. Now, I think he can still crack, but will that be enough at UFC Vegas 50?

On the flip side, I’ve loved what I’ve seen from Magomed Ankalaev. However, I don’t love the stretches in fights where he seems to cost. We’ve seen him sprint out ahead of opponents then seemingly let them back in. That’s what happened in his last fight against Volkan Oezdemir.

For Ankalaev, he needs to be on the whole time at UFC Vegas 50. He can’t let Santos get comfortable and he doesn’t want a point fight. Santos can still throw with power so he can steal some rounds with big moments.

At the end of the day, I think we are in for a close and technical battle in tomorrow’s main event. In the end, I think that Magomed Ankalaev is going to get the win and take one step closer towards a UFC title shot.

Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev by Decision

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.

What’s next for Thiago Santos after UFC Vegas 38?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 38, Thiago Santos (22-9) returned to take on Johnny Walker (18-6). Santos entered the bout trying to snap a three-fight losing streak.

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.

After falling short at UFC Vegas 38, what’s next for Johnny Walker?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 38, we saw a showdown of top light heavyweights. Former title challenger Thiago Santos (22-9) returned as he took on Johnny Walker (18-6).

Walker was competing in his first UFC main event on Saturday. Santos was looking to snap his two-fight losing streak and get back on track. He hadn’t looked like the same fighter since he returned from his serious knee injury a year ago.

I really didn’t know what to expect from either man heading into UFC Vegas 38. Walker was always a wild man and Santos has been very tentative as of late. With the difference in activity level, I was leaning towards Walker.

To my surprise, Santos looked really good on Saturday. He did a good job with beating Walker to the punch and he landed some really clean shots throughout the fight. Walker also held his own and did a good job of landing on Santos.

The fact lacked the action I was expecting at UFC Vegas 38. I think that most expected a wild fight that would end in a finish, but that’s not what we got. In the end, Santos walked away with a decision after taking three of the five rounds.

What’s next for Johnny Walker after UFC Vegas 38?

Even in a loss, I think we can take a lot away from Walker’s performance at UFC Vegas 38. To me, this was the first time that he fought with poise and had a mature look to his fighting style. That said, he didn’t land enough or have big enough spots to get the win.

However, I don’t think he’s going to be hurt too much by this loss. With that, what should the UFC do with him next? There are several options out there, but one of the options I like is a fight with Paul Craig (15-4-1).

Craig ranks just behind Walker in the rankings currently and he’s riding a current streak that has him 4-0-1 in his last five. To me, this is a really good matchup to see who’s ready for a more serious contender inside the UFC’s top ten. A good measuring fight for both men in my opinion.

UFC Vegas 38 Preview: Thiago Santos – Johnny Walker

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 38, we will see a battle between two of the more exciting light heavyweights in the division. Former title challenger Thiago Santos (21-9) takes on the exciting Johnny Walker (18-5) in the main event.

Johnny Walker earned a UFC contract on The Contender Series then proceeded to open everyone’s eyes after he debuted. Walker started out his UFC career going a perfect 3-0 with three knockouts.

None of those fights went more than two minutes. He rode that momentum into a fight with Corey Anderson. However, after his third win, he dislocated his shoulder in a victory celebration which seemed to derail his success. Walker is just 1-2 since that injury.

Another fighter who hasn’t been the same since injury is Thiago Santos. Santos just challenged Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title back in 2019. He knocked out the current champion Jan Blachowicz to earn that shot against Jones.

However, Santos tore his knee completely apart in that fight. He returned last year and he’s gone 0-2 since returning from injury. He’s going to have to prove to everyone that he’s still the same guy he was before the knee injury at UFC Vegas 38.

UFC Vegas 38 Prediction

I’m really struggling with this prediction ahead of tomorrow night. To be completely honest, I’m not sure what to expect from either guy. At one point, these two looked like two of the more dangerous light heavyweights in the division.

However, neither has looked great since returning from injury. Santos doesn’t even remotely look like the same guy. His movement in his last two UFC bouts has looked really shaky and he just doesn’t seem as confident.

Walker on the other hand has a chin that terrifies me. That said, I do like the way he’s able to move and I really like his reach advantage in this one. I’ve gone back and forth and I don’t know how, but I think Johnny Walker is going to pick up the victory tomorrow night. Something tells me he’s going to be able to land more than a flat-footed Santos.

Prediction: Johnny Walker by Decision

UFC booking Thiago Santos – Johnny Walker

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a fun light heavyweight matchup between top ten contenders. Combate was the first to report that the promotion was close to finalizing a matchup between Thiago Santos (21-9) and Johnny Walker (18-5).

The matchup will take place at a UFC Fight Night on September 25th. This is a massive opportunity for Johnny Walker who is currently ranked tenth in the division. Walker was supposed to fight Jimmy Crute back in March.

However, Walker had to pull out of the fight and Crute went on to fight Anthony Smith. I figured the UFC would give Walker someone like Crute upon his return, but that’s not what’s happening. Walker is getting a shot at a former title challenger and top five contender.

In March of 2019, Johnny Walker knocked out Misha Cirkunov in seconds. That knockout had him 3-0 in the UFC with three quick first round knockouts. The promotion moved Walker up the ladder fast and had him face Corey Anderson at UFC 244.

Walker had hurt his shoulder celebrating the Cirkunov win and this was his return fight. Anderson knocked him out in the first round. Then, Walker lost to Nikita Krylov by decision. Walker did get a win over Ryan Spann in September which got him back on track.

This matchup on September 25th is huge for Walker. If he can pick up an impressive victory over Santos, he might only be a win or two away from a UFC title shot.

UFC crossroads for Marreta

It seems just like yesterday that Thiago “Marreta” Santos was challenging Jon Jones at UFC 239. Santos destroyed his knee in the opening rounds, but still fought the all time great to a split decision.

Santos returned after a lengthy layoff to fight Glover Teixeira last fall. He had his moments in the fight, but Santos ultimately gassed out and was submitted by Glover Teixeira.

At UFC 259, Santos fought Aleksandar Rakic and seemed extremely gun shy. He lost a decision and now he’s lost three in a row. Fighting Johnny Walker is a step back for Marreta, but it’s a needed one. This is a big fight for both of these men but in very different ways. It should be a fantastic matchup with so much on the line.

Aleksandar Rakic believes he’s the new face of light heavyweight after UFC 259

This past Saturday at UFC 259, top four light heavyweight contenders kicked off the main card. Former title challenger Thiago Santos (21-9) took on Aleksandar Rakic (14-2). Both men were looking to take another step towards the UFC‘s light heavyweight title.

The expectation going into this fight was that it was going to be a fire fight. Both men possessed knockout power and both had highlight finishes inside the octagon. However, that isn’t the fight we got on Saturday night.

The fight was incredibly slow and featured Rakic just picking his shots from the outside. There were a few times where power shots were thrown, however, nothing serious ever landed. Neither man was in trouble at UFC 259.

In the end, Aleksandar Rakic had his hand raised by unanimous decision. After the fight was over, Rakic went over to Dana White’s table and told him that he was the new face of the UFC‘s light heavyweight division. Is that the case?

What’s next after UFC 259?

I will give Aleksandar Rakic this, he’s been sensational since joining the UFC. Since making his debut with the promotion back in 2017, Rakic has gone 6-1 inside the octagon. The only time he lost was to Volkan Oezdemir by split decision.

However, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of people believe that Rakic won the fight against Oezdemir. You could very well make the case that Rakic is unbeaten in the UFC. Rakic has all the makings of a future champion at 205.

He’s got the size, strength, and the skills to make it happen. We’ve seen him show off great kickboxing and we’ve also seen him show off decent skills on the ground. However, his last three fights have failed to wow fight fans.

With that, we know that Rakic is not getting the next UFC title shot. That shot belongs to Glover Teixeira. So with that, where does Rakic go from here? I think where we go from here is we look at the upcoming light heavyweight matchup in May.

Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka will fight in May. Whoever wins that fight would matchup up perfectly with Rakic for a title eliminator. Based on rumblings in the background, it appears that the UFC is heading in this direction and that potential title eliminator should be a lot of fun to watch.

What’s next for Thiago Santos after another loss at UFC 259?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, former title challenger and top light heavyweight, Thiago Santos (21-9), returned to action. He took on fellow top light heavyweight contender, Aleksandar Rakic (14-2), to kick off the PPV main card.

For Santos, this was his second fight back since recovering from knee surgery. Santos had the opportunity of a lifetime when he earned a title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 239. However, the fight went very wrong very early on.

Early in the fight, Santos completely tore his knee apart. With the injury, Santos wasn’t able to explode and do the damage that he’s normally capable of doing. Somehow, Santos still fought the all time great to a split decision back in 2019.

After the fight, Santos had to have major reconstructive surgery to repair the damage in he knee. After about 17 months away, Santos returned last November to take on Glover Teixeira. At first, it looked like Santos was going to get back to normal.

Santos dropped Teixeira and looked like he was going to return to be the force in the UFC‘s light heavyweight division that he was before the knee injury. He ended up dropping Teixeira twice in their matchup, but ultimately gassed out and was submitted.

He turned right around to face Rakic at UFC 259. One thing I did notice in the Teixeira fight is that Santos didn’t quite have the same explosion that he did prior to the injury. This is something I also noticed a lot in the Rakic fight.

What’s Santos’ UFC future?

There was just no explosion from Santos on Saturday night. To me, it was clear that he had the power and the speed advantage at UFC 259. In the past, we’ve seen Santos explode forward to overcome range disadvantages. However, he couldn’t do that on Saturday.

He was always too far away and couldn’t get anything going. As a result, he was outpointed and he lost his third consecutive fight. Santos is still ranked fourth in the UFC’s light heavyweight rankings, but where does he go from here?

To me, Santos needs a reset. He needs to fight someone in the top ten that’s in a similar position, but it needs to be a winnable fight. Personally, I love the idea of Santos taken on another former title challenger in Volkan Oezdemir (17-5) next.

We haven’t seen Oezdemir compete inside the octagon since his knockout loss at UFC 251 back in July. Both men are former title challengers, but they’re also top ten light heavyweights needing to bounce back. Seems like a great time for the UFC to pair these two up.