PFL 4: Denis Goltsov Spoils Thiago Santos’ Heavyweight Debut, Locks Up Playoff Spot

Denis Goltsov and Thiago Santos, 2024 PFL 4
Denis Goltsov and Thiago Santos, 2024 PFL 4 Credit: Dylan Napoleone/Cageside Press

Former UFC middleweight, and light heavyweight title challenger, made the move to heavyweight for Thursday’s 2024 PFL 4 card in Uncasville, CT, where he was paired up with Denis Goltsov.

Goltsov, who had made the PFL post-season multiple times, went to the finals in 2023, but came up just short. Santos, who was stepping in on short notice, was essentially looking for a quick finish to have any shot as a post-season berth of his own.

Santos would open the fight firing some heavy kicks to the body. But moments later, Goltsov had the fight to the ground after dropping Santos with a check hook. There he was able to step into mount after looking for an arm-triangle choke, and Goltsov was in the driver’s seat. With three and a half minutes on the clock, Santos was not where he wanted to be, and gave up his back in an attempt to escape.

The Brazilian briefly made it up, only to be dragged right back down. And this time, he was flattened out, with Goltsov firing heavy punches until ref Dan Miragliotta stepped in, finishing the fight inside of a round- but not for Santos, who suffered his second defeat of 2024 after coming up short against Yoel Romero this past February.

As for Denis Goltsov, it’s off to the post-season once again.

Official Result: Denis Goltsov def. Thiago Santos by TKO, Round 1, 2:20