PFL 4: Denis Goltsov Says Thiago Santos “Didn’t Really Feel That Strong”

Uncasville, CT — There was a big question mark surrounding how UFC vet Thiago Santos would look heading into PFL 4 on Thursday, where he was paired up with Russian heavyweight Denis Goltsov. Now, we have our answer.

Santos lasted less than a round in his heavyweight debut, against a fighter in Goltsov (34-8) who has made the league’s post-season repeatedly. In 2023, he went to the finals, and he’ll look to do so again this year.

As for Santos, he fell via TKO in the first round after being rocked early. According to Goltsov, his strength doesn’t seem to have translated all that well to the new weight class.

“He didn’t really feel that strong, because once I was like a backpack on him, and I was controlling him, I was able to really mount him and control him and be on top,” Goltsov said following the fight, speaking with media outlets including Cageside Press.

Santos was a replacement opponent, stepping in for Sergey Bilostenniy. That’s a situation Goltsov is not at all unfamiliar with.

“It’s something I’m used to. They always change opponents on me two, three times,” he noted. “It doesn’t matter.”

Unofficially, Denis Goltsov has had at least 10 fights in the PFL fall through, so he’s not off the mark. In any case, after earning four points in his first fight of the year, the six he claimed on Thursday have him comfortably in the post-season.

Not that the first fight even matters, he later explained. “I’m talking like a true veteran of PFL: it doesn’t really matter. First fight doesn’t mean anything. You just have to go. First fight doesn’t matter. You have to go and win and show everything you can do.”

Watch the full PFL 4 post-fight media scrum with Denis Goltsov above.