Jimi Manuwa and Thiago Santos had the honor of kicking off UFC 231’s pay-per-view (PPV) main card tonight (Sat., Dec. 8, 2018) from inside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The opening bout is often selected because matchmakers have a funny feeling that it will more than likely be entertaining and, more often than not, end early.
And the hard-hitting Light Heavyweight match up satisfied that criteria this evening in spades, with Santos scoring a ferocious second round knockout win.
Manuwa — who was looking to steer out of a two-fight losing skid — got the action started with a straight left, but then Santos — who was in the exact opposite position of “Poster Boy,” having compiled two consecutive victories heading into the 205-pound scrap — exploded with a counter combination that dropped the Brit almost immediately. Santos poured on the pressure and continued to wobble Manuwa with shots, but he was eventually able to recover along the cage. Shortly afterward, seemingly whole again, Manuwa was able to mount his own offensive, forcing Santos to slow the pace with a takedown. Manuwa was able to quickly get back to striking, where the two exchanged absolute haymakers, with Santos suffering the worst of the exchanges down the stretch. In fact, Manuwa rocked Santos bad along the fence, but the Brazilian was able to somehow survive and see a second round.
Santos snuck in a shovel hook to start round two, which appeared to trigger Manuwa, who once again just started slinging monster shots. Santos was more than game, though, drilling Manuwa with a knee and hard hook along the cage. Manuwa buckled, but was still in the fight ... but not for long. Santos stepped back and landed a left hook from hell, which he followed up with a left cross from Hades, dropping Manuwa into a heap of flesh the minute the last shot landed.
It was an incredible fight to kickoff UFC 231 — both fighters threw caution to the wind from the opening bell, going after each other as violently as possible. Santos, a former Middleweight, has a new home at 205 pounds. And tonight he just put the rest of the division on notice.
He’s one scary, scary dude.
For complete UFC 231: “Holloway vs. Ortega” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.