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Thiago Santos will use experience to end Ankalaev with ‘sledgehammer’ at UFC Vegas 50

UFC Fight Night: Santos v Walker Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Thiago Santos will look to regain the respect of the light heavyweight division tomorrow night (Sat., Mar. 12, 2022) at UFC Vegas 50 live on ESPN+ from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, when the former UFC title challenger faces off against streaking contender Magomed Ankalaev in the main event.

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LIGHTWEIGHT CONTENDER COLLISION! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to “The Lone Star State” on Sat., Dec. 2, 2023, with a 155-pound main event showdown between top-ranked division contenders, Beneil Dariush (No. 4) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (No. 8), both of whom are looking to inch closer to a division title shot in 2024. In UFC Austin’s co-main event, Bobby Green will looks to continue his resurgence against short-notice “Tarantula,” Jalin Turner.

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This is a big opportunity for Santos to remind the light heavyweight division that he remains a force this late into his UFC career. The 38-year-old veteran is coming off a decision win over Johnny Walker this past October, but it wasn’t the greatest performance by “Marreta.” In total, he has lost three out of his last four trips to the Octagon and really needs a big performance to keep things rolling in 2022.

Luckily, Santos has a real chance at redemption as he gets another main event bid this weekend against Ankalaev. The Russian contender is a massive favorite to defeat Santos, but “Marreta” remains a viable veteran capable of landing powerful shots at will. He has more than a puncher’s chance and will look to showcase his current ability when the cage door shuts on Saturday.

“Ankalaev is a tough guy, He’s on a good win streak and he’s really dangerous. I must keep my eyes open,” said Santos in a recent interview with Combate. “A lot of people say he’s going to take me down and use his wrestling, but I can’t just worry about that. He’s a great striker, too. He has KO wins. I’ve prepared in every single way possible and I’m ready for him.”

“I think I have an advantage when it comes to experience.” Santos continued. “Not only in cage time, but the opponents I’ve faced, too. I’m used to fighting five rounds and main events. I don’t think he has ever fought for five rounds. I’ll use all of my experience in my favor. The perfect way to end the fight would be my way. The sledgehammer.”

Ankalaev certainly has a grappling advantage over Santos, but the Russian contender is a legitimate striker as well. He likes to do damage on the feet and it could allow “Marreta” to score some serious strikes when the two mix it up. After all, Santos had racked off three-straight knockout finishes to spark his move to 205 pounds from 2018-2019. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 50 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 50 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Santos vs. Ankalaev” fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.

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