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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Thiago Santos after TKO loss at UFC Vegas 59?

UFC Fight Night: Santos v Hill Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC Vegas 59 went down this past weekend (Sat., Aug. 6, 2022) in Las Vegas, Nevada, leaving several fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them was Sam Alvey, who failed to get a win for his ninth straight fight inside the Octagon after getting knocked out by Michał Oleksiejczuk.

And Vicente Luque, who suffered the first knockout loss of his career at the hands of Geoff Neal, who stopped him via a vicious onslaught of strikes in the co-main event (see it again here). But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Thiago Santos.

Coming into his headlining fight against Jamahal Hill, Santos was coming off a unanimous decision loss over Magomed Ankalaev. Prior to that, “Marreta” had gone 1-3 in his previous four fights inside the Octagon. It’s a drastic difference from the monster who went 8-1 from 2017 to 2019, earning a shot at former division kingpin, Jon Jones, ultimately losing to “Bones” via split decision at UFC 239.

But, things didn’t get any better for the Brazilian bomber despite a valiant effort against “Sweet Dreams,” who managed to stop “Marreta” in the fourth round after a back-and-forth fight throughout the first three rounds.

Santos showed that he still has some fight left in him before he was stopped, but we can’t ignore the fact that he is now 1-5 over the last three years. If we want to find a silver lining, he’s only been stopped via strikes once in that span. His other losses are one submission and coming up short on the judges’ scorecards three times.

Whatever seems to be going wrong is only something Santos himself can figure out and remedy, but he better do it in a hurry because the contenders are only getting younger, stronger and at 38 years of age, time isn’t exactly on “Marreta’s” side.

Does he still have the skills to hang with the cream of the crop? The last three years tell us he is obviously on the decline, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is on his way out and headed toward retirement. Whether or not he will ever make another run toward the title, well, that seems highly-unlikely.

A Top 5-ranked opponent is likely out of the question for Santos, which means he will have to settle for whatever UFC matchmakers throw his way. Something tells me they may just put Dominick Reyes in front of him.

Reyes has not been heard or seen from in quite a while, going into recovery as a result of several facial fractures he suffered in his loss to Jiri Prochazka in May 2021. If Reyes is close to mounting a comeback in a couple of months, a fight against Santos seems ideal.

Reyes and Santos have seen better days and both had really close fights against Jon Jones. Reyes is currently in the midst of a three-fight losing streak, so it seems a bout against Santos, who is also struggling, could be a must-win for both.


For complete UFC Vegas 59: “Santos vs. Hill” results and play-by-play, click HERE.

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