Welcome to the UFC: Daniel Santos

UFC octagon girl
Octagon girl Red De La Cruz, UFC 268 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

A huge week of fights is upon us with UFC 273, a card that hosts two title fights in the featherweight and bantamweight divisions. Also, we are going to see whether Khamzat Chimaev is the real deal when he fights former title challenger Gilbert Burns. To kick off the card it’s a bantamweight fight between Julio Arce and newcomer Daniel Santos.

Daniel “Willycat” Santos
Standing at 5’7″
Fighting at 135 lbs (bantamweight)
Fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Training out of Chute Boxe Diego Lima
A pro record of 10-1
5 KO/TKOs, 2 Submissions

How will Santos fare in the UFC:

Santos is a solid guy out of Chute Box Diego Lima. Not only has his fighting style helped him get to the UFC, but his ties with UFC champion Charles Oliveira didn’t hurt. Santos only has one loss dating back to 2019 and has been fighting tough competition.

His sole loss came down to the fact he got grinded on for three rounds. Santos has solid takedown defense and excellent get-up ability but in that fight, he was just behind on minutes. Not only is Santos hard to take down but you better be wary to even attempt to put him there. Santos is dangerous in the clinch with elbows and knees and also front chokes. Even on his back he’s got fluid hips and can threaten out of his guard.

Santos is going to march forward with a high guard attacking with heavy kicks and power punches. He’s got big power in his hands and with it throws in combinations, goes to the body, and counters effectively. Santos has solid head movement and when he does get hit he responds even harder and that’s where he’s most dangerous. Santos is explosive, powerful, technical, and fast.

Santos hasn’t fought in a bit but at 27 he’s in his prime. A strong wrestler could give Santos problems but it would have to be a good wrestler with a gas tank. Santos is never going to stop working and hunting for a finish. A really good underrated signing from the UFC and I think he could do really well in the UFC.

How he matches up with Arce:

Arce is 4-3 is the UFC and did get stopped by TKO in his last fight for the first time in his career. Arce is a boxer thoroughly and Santos will happily oblige Arce in a striking fight. Arce is the more technical fighter but in speed and power that’s a big advantage for Santos. There is a good chance Arce could just frustrate Santos on the outside with the jab and footwork. Santos doesn’t have any desire to just sit on the outside and take shots. What he does so well is come forward and look to put his hands on you. Arce did just get knocked out his last fight and that is concerning. I’m picking the underdog in Santos and I think he finishes Arce.


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