In what was truly an inspiring effort, Thiago Santos almost managed to pull off a close decision win over Jon Jones last Saturday night (July 6, 2019) at UFC 239 in Las Vegas, Nevada (highlights). It’s even more impressive because “Marreta” apparently did it on one leg.
Indeed, the Brazilian bomber was clearly favoring his left leg throughout the fight, losing his balance and having it buckle on him on several occasions. But, according to a recent report from ESPN, his injuries were way worse than imagined — Santos tore his ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus in the first round.
That’s according to Alex Davis, Santos’ manager, who revealed that tests confirmed the extent of his injuries.
Furthermore, a recent report from MMA Fighting revealed that Santos actually had secret knee surgery earlier this year prior to accepting the title fight against Jones, and even fought with a torn meniscus against Jan Blachowicz, whom he knocked out at UFC Prague.
Despite tearing up his knee, Santos managed to take Jones the distance, losing a close split decision (though UFC President Dana White didn’t think it was that close). His nagging injuries, according to Santos’ coach, Tata Duarte, prevented him from getting a full camp in for “Bones.” And pulling out of the title fight was never an option.
“If that knee hadn’t stopped him, Jon Jones would have gone down, no doubt,” Duarte said. “Our gameplan was all set, ‘Marreta’ was seeing everything. And after he started hurting Jon Jones’ legs he began to lose mobility, it was too easy to put him out, man, but we counted on switching stances to get it done. He started the combinations, but couldn’t continue.”
Scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the damage, Santos will now be sidelined for the remainder of 2019 -- and possibly half of 2020 -- ending all hopes of a potential immediate rematch against Jones.