Thiago Santos staked his claim for a title shot at UFC Prague with a beautiful third-round knockout against Jan Blachowicz.
Thiago Santos has been tearing it up ahead of UFC Prague, earning him the sixth spot in the light heavyweight rankings. The Brazilian is a “kill or be killed” fighter, going to decision just thrice in his 17-fight career with the promotion. “Marreta” is 12-5 in the Octagon, and has won seven of his last eight fights, with the last two coming at light heavyweight. So far at 205, Santos has defeated Eryk Anders and Jimi Manuwa in wildly entertaining fights.
Jan Blachowicz headlines UFC Prague currently ranked fourth in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. The Polish scrapper was the KSW light heavyweight champ, defending his title three times before heading over to the Octagon. After starting his Octagon run with an explosive first-round body kick knockout against Ilir Latifi, Blachowicz went 1-4. He’s turned it around though, winning four-straight fights and earning performance bonuses in three of them. He most recently submitted Nikita Krylov in the latter’s return to the promotion.
Blachowicz started the fight with a big body kick that came up short, and Santos responded with one of his own that connected. Both fighters had only thrown kicks until an overhand from Blachowicz that missed just over a minute in. More kicks to the body were deflected by both fighters. Santos threatened a spinning attack but did not commit to it. The first true exchange of punches on the feet came with two minutes left in the round, when Blachowicz landed a one-two and Santos stung him with a right straight. Blachowicz caught a body kick with exactly one minute remaining and tried to drag Santos down, but was unsuccessful. Santos was coming up just short on haymakers at the end of a fairly even round.
Santos started round two off with a pair of hard leg kicks. Blachowicz came up short with an uppercut, but Santos couldn’t make him pay. Another body kick by Santos landed. Santos landed a jab as Blachowicz went low with a kick. Blachowicz strung together a combination with a kick at the end. A counter-left landed for Santos, but it did not slow Blachowicz down. The round ended after a head kick attempt by Jan Blachowicz, and a capoeira-like kick attempt by Santos. The fight was not as action-packed as many expected thus far.
Santos started the round with a couple of leg kicks. Then, as Blachowicz came in with a combination, Santos nailed him with a short right hook followed by a powerful left hand that knocked him down. Santos followed him and landed a barrage of hammer-fists to close out the contest.
— UFC (@ufc) February 23, 2019
Thiago Santos def. Jan Blachowicz by TKO (Punches) in Round 3 (0:39)