Welcome to the UFC: Luana Santos

Luana Santos, UFC Vegas 78
Luana Santos, UFC Vegas 78 weigh-in Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press

The UFC is back home this Saturday for UFC Vegas 78, with Vicente Luque headlining in a welterweight fight with former 155lb champ and 170lb title challenger Rafael dos Anjos. A couple of newcomers dot the Fight Night card, including Brazil’s Luana Santos. She takes on TUF champ Julianna Miller.

Luana Santos
Standing at five-foot-six
Fighting at 145 lbs (flyweight)
Fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Training out of 001 MMA Team
A pro record of 5-1
3 Submissions

How will Santos fare in the UFC:

I was surprised to see Santos signed to the UFC. This is the definition of coming to the UFC premature. She was a highly touted amateur coming into the pros. She made a name for herself recently fighting on the LFA Brazil cards.

Santos isn’t much on the feet. She has a good right hand but she has no volume, zero setups, and her defense is lackluster. There are not many women she will outstrike in the UFC if any. She has no head movement defensively and no fundamentals offensively.

Santos is a judo blackbelt but judo is not really a good tool to have in MMA. She’s a jiu-jitsu player but getting the fight down is an issue. She likes using trips and those head and arm throws and we all know those have like a 30% chance of working out. That’s fine and all if the jiu-jitsu is top-notch. Santos has good jiu-jitsu but it’s not at a high level. She’s a submission threat but I don’t view her submission base at a UFC level.

I still think Santos is still too green to be fighting in the UFC. The signing doesn’t make sense to pick up a 23-year-old with only six pro fights. She should’ve been able to develop in LFA and at least go for a title there way before she should be fighting in the UFC.

How she matches up with Miller:

Miller is coming off a bad loss to Veronica Hardy. She’s a TUF winner but that TUF was lackluster in talent. Miller has no striking defense but at least throws a lot of volume offensively. Both are jiu-jitsu based. Miller is a little more aggressive everywhere the fight would go. Hard to predict between the two as to who is better but I’ll go with Miller. I think her volume on the feet and her aggressiveness in the jiu-jitsu will see her name come out ahead on the scorecards.