Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight prospects Elias Theodorou and Bruno Santos collided in a grueling bout last night (Sat., Oct. 4, 2014) on FOX Sports 1 inside the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
For a winner of the regional version of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Theodorou actually had a bit of hype behind him. Large, athletic, and well-conditioned, the aggressive Canadian impressed in his debut and was looking to outdo himself.
On the other hand, Bruno Santos has thoroughly bored droves of fans in both his prior UFC bouts. Before he entered the cage, it was mentioned that Santos' last 11 victories came via decision. If Santos wanted any future with the promotion, he needed a win, finish, excitement, or perhaps some combination of the three.
The Brazilian did not succeed in any account.
The first round was fairly close. Theodorou repeatedly attack with lengthy kicks and was active with his punches. However, he also chose to clinch with the stocky "Carioca," which led to him getting briefly taken down. Additionally, Santos showcased a small amount of improvement, landing some hard punches on the feet.
The second round was much of the same, except Santos' successful takedown yielded about a minute of top control. Hardly impressive, but it was enough to win the round, meaning that it was likely tied going into the final frame.
Theodorou took control of the third bout. For whatever reason, he was still intent on grappling. In this round, his opponent's empty gas tank allowed him to complete a number of takedowns, including some crowd-pleasing slams. Once he secured top position, Theodorou was active with his passing, ground strikes, and submission attempts.
It may not have been the most entertaining bout of the night, but Theodorou passed a legitimate test. Santos' style of fighting may be simple, but it can nullify even veteran fighters. Instead, Theodorou's combination of youth, physicality, and technique overcame the Brazilian.
At just 26 years old, Theodorou still has time to improve. The most notable flaw in his game is likely defensive, as Theodorou was hit far too often by a fairly mediocre striker. For the most part, this was due to the Canadian's willingness to throw kicks while close to his opponent, which allowed the very short Santos to still land counters.
Luckily, Theodorou has all the physical tools necessary to do well inside the Octagon. He's a large middleweight and seems quite strong. More importantly, Theodorou pushes an excellent pace, which is a great trait in the heavier weight classes. Since middleweight is relatively thin on young talent, Theodorou is definitely a fighter to keep an eye on.
For his next bout, Theodorou should get another lower to mid-tier middleweight. His preferred opponent, Ed Herman, would have been an excellent choice, as Herman is a solid gatekeeper. Instead, a match against Magnus Cedenblad could be entertaining and would test Theodorou's submission defense.
In all honesty, it doesn't seem particularly worthwhile to talk very much about Santos. His fighting ability -- both pros and cons -- remains utterly unchanged, as Santos has yet to really develop anything other than a smothering offense. In addition, he still only fights well for about a round and a half before slowing considerably.
Since Santos is just 1-2 inside the Octagon and is arguably the most painfully boring fighter on the roster, there's little reason for the UFC to keep him around for even one more fight. If he does get another chance, it could be against a very low ranked middleweight or veteran who needs a victory.
Regardless, it will be quite unpleasant to watch.
At UFC Fight Night 54, Elias Theodorou continued his successful UFC career at the expense of Bruno Santos. How high can the Canadian climb in the middleweight division?
For complete UFC Fight Night 54 results, click HERE.