34-Year-Old UFC Middleweight 17-6-0
June 13, 2018 Thiago Santos News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Santos will be in Las Vegas during the week of the TUF 27 Finale as a "plan B" for a scenario in which middleweight Brad Tavares is unable to face Israel Adesanya, MMAFighting.com reports.
This is something that happens behind the scenes more than fight fans probably realize, though it isn't typically this publicized. Santos was recently positioned as a top middleweight contender, but a setback against David Branch last April knocked the Brazilian down a peg. Looking to rebuild momentum, Santos is willing to travel to Las Vegas to be on standby in the scenario the TUF 27 Finale main event doesn't go on as planned. It's scheduled to be between prospect Israel Adesanya and rising contender Brad Tavares, but rumors of a Tavares foot injury have surfaced, and the UFC has taken them seriously enough to get a backup plan in place. Stay tuned for additional news on any matchup shuffling during fight week.
Thiago Santos: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisFour straight knockout victories put Santos in position to make a run in the UFC middleweight division, but this loss is a massive setback for the 34-year-old Brazilian. Santos was throwing a bunch of leg kicks and doing a decent job of keeping the bigger Branch off balance early in the contest prior to the finish, yet one big right hand from Branch that didn't even appear to land flush turned his lights out. Santos' power is undisputed, but he struggles to win fights if he isn't landing with regularity. He is 8-3 in his past 11 fights dating back to January 2015.
Fantasy AnalysisSantos will look to continue his impressive run of form, as the 34-year-old is in the midst of a four-fight win streak -- all coming via TKO -- and has won eight of his last 10 in the Octagon. Following his TKO win over Anthony Smith at UFC Belem earlier in February, Santos tied Anderson Silva for the most knockout victories in UFC middleweight history. He'll now face a difficult opponent in Branch, who is looking to bounce back from a loss to Luke Rockhold via submission at UFC Fight Night in September. Prior to that, Branch had won 11 straight fights (with 10 of those wins coming in the World Series of Fighting).
Fantasy AnalysisSantos, as he is known to do, came out like a house of fire. He wanted to end this fight right away. Smith stayed game, but Santos was throwing heavy strikes, and it was only a matter of time. In the second round, Santos landed a hard kick to the body. Smith crumbled to the ground, and Santos swarmed to finish the fight. The Brazilian has now won four-straight fights in the UFC. He should get a shot at a top ranked fighter in the near future.
Fantasy AnalysisSantos and Smith will meet up for a middleweight clash with both fighters riding a wave of momentum. For Santos, he recently defeated Jack Hermansson in late October via TKO (punches) and bested Gerald Meerschaert and Jack Marshman during this calendar year. On the other side, Smith is coming off a hard-fought victory against Hector Lombard in Pittsburgh in September, and also enters with a three-fight win streak.
Fantasy AnalysisSantos proved once again that he still has the explosiveness to end a fight in an instant if his opponent doesn't bother defending himself on the feet. The combination that put a halt to the contest was among the least-technical combos that you will ever see. Santos just ran forward knowing the round was about to end and fired off about half a dozen shots in succession that Hermansson had no answer for. The Brazilian remains a one-dimensional, hard-hitting brawler, but he has somehow won three fights in a row, all via knockout. The good times are likely to end for Santos in the near future, but he has gone on a nice run here at age 33.
Fantasy AnalysisSantos is coming off back-to-back victories, including an impressive second-round TKO over Gerald Meerschaert at the UFC's International Fight Week card in July. He'll be a slightly smaller fighter than Hermansson, length-wise, in a fight is shaping up to be played out primarily on the feet. Santos has recorded just one takedown in his last five fights combined.
Fantasy AnalysisSantos looked great in this fight. He has obviously been hitting the weight room as he looked like a light heavyweight compared to Meerschaert. The Brazilian middleweight showed great striking and landed huge shots on GM3 throughout the duration of the fight. He did a good job of sprawling against takedowns, and did a lot of damage once Meerschaert was on the bottom in the sprawl. That is how Santos hurt Meerschaert at first, and then that forced the Milwaukee-based middleweight to take sloppy shots, leading to Santos unleashing vicious ground-and-pound on his way to victory.
Fantasy AnalysisSantos is joining International Fight Week with a 14-5 record (6-4 UFC). The Brazilian lands an average 3.35 significant strikes per minute and has impressive defense against takedowns (72 percent) as well as strikes (67 percent). Since joining the UFC in 2013, four of the fighter's wins have come from KO/TKO in the first round.
Fantasy AnalysisSantos started out as the better striker. His reach advantage allowed him to land strikes, while avoiding strikes from Marshman. Late in the round, Marshman dropped Santos to one knee. Santos recovered and got back into the fight. In the second round, Santos continued to control the distance. About halfway through the round, Santos unleashed a spinning heal kick that dropped Marshamn. He followed up with punches and finished the fight. Santos really needed this win following back-to-back losses in the UFC.
Fantasy AnalysisThe injury reportedly occurred when Santos escaped from a submission attempt by Spicily early on in the fight. According to the the 32-year-old's coach, Octavio Duarte, the ailment will sideline him for three to four weeks and could take longer to heal fully. The middleweight may have to wait until 2017 before he's ready to enter the octagon competitively again.
Fantasy AnalysisWhat a disaster. Entering the fight as the second-biggest favorite on the card, as much as -800 on some betting sites, Santos could never get out of the starting block. Santos has some crazy power in his hands, but the rest of his game is suspect, at best. Losing to a fighter such as Spicely who is nothing more than roster depth is simply unacceptable for a guy who entered Saturday as a top-15 middleweight. Santos has now lost two-straight following a four-fight winning streak. To say Saturday's loss is a setback for the 32-year-old would be a gigantic understatement.
Fantasy AnalysisAs expected, Santos quickly found out that facing a fighter the caliber of Mousasi is a lot more difficult than beating up the likes of Steve Bosse, Nate Marquardt and Andy Enz. Santos has a lot of power and he actually was able to land a few nice shots on Mousasi, but Gegard shrugged them off and scored a knockdown. It only got worse for Santos from there. Although he only has 17 career fights under his belt, Santos is already 32 years of age. It's entirely possible that we have already seen the best that he has to offer.
Fantasy AnalysisThe fight was originally supposed to be Mousasi against Derek Brunson, but after Brunson withdrew, Santos was able to step in on two weeks' notice. Santos is the No. 15-ranked UFC middleweight, and will likely enter the fight as the underdog against the No. 8-ranked Mousasi. Santos is a couple years older and has less experience than Mousasi, but does have momentum on his side following a first-round knockout of Nate Marquardt in May -- his fourth consecutive victory.
Fantasy AnalysisMarquardt is one of the worst fights on the UFC roster these days, but give Santos credit for getting the job done in impressive fashion. Knowing full well that the aging Marquardt couldn't come close to matching his speed on the feet, Santos opened up, landing power shots at will. Santos was 1-2 in his UFC career after a lose to Uriah Hall in July 2014, but he has since reeled off four wins in a row. His ceiling is ultimately rather limited, but he is a better fighter than numerous guys (Rafael Natal, C.B. Dollaway, Dan Henderson) who are currently ranked in the top-15 of the UFC's 185-pound division.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was a terrific bout. Santos started off very slowly. He stood around for nearly the entire first round, throwing a random leg kick here and there. He got progressively better in Round 2 and he absolutely battered Theodorou in the third and final stanza. The only reason this fight went to a decision was because Theodorou was able to withstand a ridiculous amount of punishment in Round 3. Santos hits hard and his cardio in this fight was especially impressive. Coming in as a +210 underdog, it was a terrific effort by the Brazilian.
Fantasy AnalysisSantos is 3-2 since entering the UFC, with all three victories coming by knockout. He'll look to continue that pattern Thursday, as Theodorou's highly regarded cardio will likely give him an advantage in a fight that goes the distance. Nonetheless, Santos is expected to provide the young Theodorou with arguably the biggest challenge of his MMA career.
Fantasy AnalysisSantos has been notoriously inconsistent in his career, but he is coming off back-to-back first-round KO wins over Steve Bosse and Andy Enz. Santos' strength is his striking, but his conditioning better be on point if he hopes to win this fight. Theodorou is one of the fittest fighters in the entire UFC.
Fantasy AnalysisIf Santos doesn't earn a $50,000 performance bonus for that effort, a criminal investigation should be opened. He took his time, circled and then delivered a shin right to the side of Bosse's head. He was out before he even hit the ground. It was as vicious a blow as you will see in MMA. Not that this is a surprise, but this was clearly his best effort of his first five UFC bouts. If you missed the finish, go check it out on YouTube.
Fantasy AnalysisSantos is far more technical than Bosse and that is reflective in the odds here. Santos is only 2-2 in his first four UFC bouts, but both losses (Urijah Hall, Cezar Ferreira) came against good fighters. He's facing an unknown quantity in Bosse, but Santos should have enough to handle him. This has the potential to be an explosive fight.