Prospect Watch: Brazil’s Acacio dos Santos

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Acacio dos Santos
Acacio dos Santos Credit: SFT

Brazilian light heavyweight Acacio dos Santos is in the spotlight this week, as a potential addition to the 205lb weight class in the major promotions.

Tale of the Tape

Fighting out of Guarulhos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Age: 29
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Height: 6’4″
Training out of Guarulhos Fight Team
Record: 13-3
6 KO/TKO’s

Pros

  • Uses his size to wear on guys
  • Heavy top position
  • Good ground and pound
  • Good leg kicks

Cons

  • Very wild striking/throws too wide
  • Hands low, chin up
  • TDD lacks

Striking/Kickboxing: C+

Santos is a very dangerous and sloppy striker all at the same time. He has the power, speed, and output but lacks badly when it comes to technical ability. Nothing is set up and a lot of times he looks like he has rubber arms the way he slings them around. His kicks are slightly better, as he doesn’t throw them as carelessly. Santos will get flashy at times but is best when he attacks the lead leg.

Movement: C+

Santos is a big lengthy guy so he relies more on his range and reach. He’s flat-footed most of the time but he covers most of the cage so movement is hardly needed. It would be nice to see him at least move side to side more and come in from angles.

Clinch: B-

Santos is usually in control while in the clinch. Even when it’s his back against the cage he fights the wrists well and digs underhooks. It’s another position when he uses his size to his advantage muscling opponents around and making it look easy to land knees. I wish he would be more active offensively but he’s no easy guy to control. The thing is, it’s usually his back against the cage and that doesn’t look good to the judges.

Wrestling: C

When it comes to classic wrestling skills and being able to chain wrestle, execute a double leg in space, and work to the hips to get the fight down Santos doesn’t have it. The big 6’4″ frame Santos has means he will put his weight on opponents to just buckle them down to the mat. Santos has utilized some nice trip takedowns in his career but the consistency isn’t there.

Grappling: C+

As his size plays a factor in getting the fight to the ground it plays more of a factor when on the mat. Santos will impose his will with heavy positioning and good ground and pound. He has good enough jiu-jitsu to threaten submissions and does well at taking the back. Once he solidifies top position he’s really hard to move from underneath.

Cardio: B-

Santos has gone the distance more times than he’s finished fights. That’s something you don’t see often at light heavyweight. Santos doesn’t throw a lot of volume and output so sustaining good cardio throughout three rounds isn’t a problem. It would be ideal to be more active though.

Defense: C

Santos struggles with takedown defense at times. It’s gotten better over time as in general he’s a tough guy to close the distance on and take such a large athlete to the mat. Santos is extremely wild with his striking, opening up the door for guys to catch him or just counter him when he throws. He’s relied on his height to get him out of trouble and his head movement and footwork do lack. He’s hard to close the distance on since he is capable of keeping guys on the outside.

Overall: C+

Santos is an interesting talent with his size and is a dangerous fighter regardless of the deficiencies he has. With an impressive 13-3 record, an eight-fight win-streak, and having not lost a fight since 2015, Santos is seen as a top 205’er out of Brazil for a reason. If Santos can fight behind a jab more and pick his shots he’s going to be a problem. With someone like him, that knows how to use their range effectively, they will be a very difficult task to overcome. Santos uses his size to wear on opponents and his length helps him with positioning on the mat. He just needs to use his reach more in striking and kickboxing besides being as wild as he is. Age 29 is still fairly young for light heavyweight. There is potential, and still much more room to grow.

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