Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back at it again last night (Sat., Feb. 23, 2019) as UFC Fight Night 145 — which aired on UFC on ESPN+ — went down from inside O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. The event saw Thiago Santos knockout Jan Blachowicz in the headlining act (see it). In the co-main event, Stevan Struve submitted Marcos Rogerio de Lima in Heavyweight action to snap his three-fight skid.
Biggest Winner: Thiago Santos
After collecting his fourth straight win — three in a row at Light Heavyweight — Santos is sitting pretty when it comes to the championship race. Since making the jump up, all the heavy-handed Brazilian bomber has done is knockout Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa and now Blachowicz.
To sweeten the pot a bit more, Santos is the last man to defeat Anthony Smith — who will challenge Jon Jones for the title at UFC 235 — knocking him out during their days at Middleweight. “Marreta” did his thing, and he is now determined to sneak his way into a title fight later this year. He will be a very interested observer come next week, as the outcome of Jones vs. Smith could determine Santos’ next move.
Runner Up: Stefan Struve
“Skyscraper” put an end to his horrid three-fight losing streak by submitting de Lima via triangle choke (highlights), giving him his first win since 2016. In the process, he collected a cool $50,000 bonus check for “Performance of the Night.”
While he picked up a much-needed win, he left everyone scratching their collective heads afterward, placing his gloves in the center of the Octagon to signify his retirement from the sport. Going out with a “W” is the best way to do it, walking away with his health in hand at just 31 years of age. Like he said in this post-fight interview, there is plenty of life left to live after fighting, and he intends to do just that. Thanks for always putting it all on the line, “Skyscraper.”
Biggest Loser: John Dodson
For the first time in his mixed marital arts (MMA) career, Dodson suffered back-to-back losses after coming up short against Petr Yan, who proved once again he’s a legit threat at Bantamweight.
For “The Magician,” his latest defeat hurts his prospective chances of climbing up the championship ladder, and since the Flyweight division seems to be on his way out, he won’t have the option of moving back down in hopes of starting another run there. If the weight class does go up in a smoke, he will now have to worry about the influx of 125-pound combatants who will be forced up to 135. That means Dodson will have many more contenders in his way, and the hole he has to dig out of gets a bit deeper.
For complete UFC Prague results and coverage click here.