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PFL’s big free agent signing, Thiago Santos, responds to haters ahead of debut

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — Thiago Santos doesn’t see what his critics see.

After 10 years with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), “Marreta” makes his Professional Fighters League (PFL) debut at PFL 1 2023 TONIGHT (Sat., April 1, 2023) inside The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. He faces 2022 PFL Light Heavyweight season winner, Rob Wilkinson, in the co-main event.

Since challenging for Jon Jones UFC’s 205-pound championship, Santos has lost five of his last six fights, getting finished in his last outing by Jamahal Hill (watch highlights). Because of his current losing skid, fans and analysts have questioned Santos’ place in the sport and if he should call it a career sooner rather than later.

Plus, the Brazilian just turned 39 years old in January. Santos has brushed off those theories.

“I don’t know what fights they watch,” Santos told during PFL 1 media day. “In my last fight, I don’t think I look too old, you know. I compete with young lions, and I give them hard fights or tough fights, you know, win or lose. You can be 20 years old and lose, it is part of the sport. But I can’t see that [my past opponents] kill me. It’s not true. So, I don’t know what fight they watch.”

While a two-fight losing streak and losing five out of his last six doesn’t look the best, the losses were to only Top 5-ranked UFC opponents, so he could have a valid point.

“I feel great — I feel good,” Santos continued. “I know myself — no one needs to say what I have to do. When I feel that the time comes to stop, I’m going to stop by myself. Because if I feel I can’t compete anymore, there is no point to go inside the cage.”

Santos vs. Wilkinson will stream live on ESPN/ESPN+ as PFL’s 1 2023 co-main event, beginning at 9 p.m. ET. In the headliner, former UFC Bantamweight standout, Marlon Moraes, locks horns with Brendan Loughnane in a 145-pound showdown.

For more PFL 1 2023 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive archive right here.

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