That MMA Show

UFC Fight Night on ESPN+: Blachowicz vs. Santos

Published by: Alex Minor


UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ 

Blachowicz vs. Santos 

 Image result for Blachowicz vs. Santos


On Saturday, 2/23/19, the UFC touched down in Prague, Czech Republic for yet another UFC Fight Night on ESPN+. Showcased at the pinnacle of the card was #4 ranked Light Heavyweight, Jan Blachowicz, and #6 ranked Light Heavyweight newcomer, Thiago Santos. After putting together a four-fight-win-streak over the likes of Jimi Manuwa and Nikita Krylov, it looked as though Blachowicz might be on his way toward a Light Heavyweight title shot. In order to continue his climb to the gold, Blachowicz would have to get past the quickly-rising, Brazilian powerhouse, Thiago Santos.  

Santos had only entered the Light Heavyweight division 7 months prior when he stepped up from Middleweight and took on Eryk Anders. Santos originally took the fight as a replacement for Glover Teixeira in a bout against Jimi Manuwa. However, injuries eventually forced Manuwa out of the bout as well, and Anders stepped up to take his place. Thiago Santos went on to win the fight by TKO. However, Santos still desired to take on Jimi Manuwa at Light Heavyweight as was originally planned. Several months later, Santos ended up flat-lining Manuwa in one of the most exciting brawls of 2018. Considering his level of success and comfort in the division, Santos took the fight against the highly-ranked Jan Blachowicz with the intention of inching closer to a title shot in the new division. With both men shooting for the gold, this pivotal Light Heavyweight bout was bound to be explosive.  

When the bout commenced, both men portrayed a lot of respect for their opponent. Each fighter was keeping distance, being patient, and throwing a compendium of leg kicks and body kicks. Whenever they would get close to one another, Santos would capitalize by landing a hard hook or cross. Toward the end of the first round, Blachowicz attempted a shot on Santos. However, Santos managed to stuff the shot and land a hard right hook on the break.  

In the second round of the fight, both men began to open up little by little. Santos came out throwing a lot of feints, trying to overload Blachowicz’s mind and force an opening. On the other hand, Blachowicz started to get more aggressive and let his hands go; walking Santos down with dangerous combinations on several occasions. In response, Santos threw several lead hook/cross combinations off the back foot.  

In round three, Blachowicz came out pushing even harder, feeling as though the momentum was on his side. Almost as soon as the round began, Blachowicz backed Santos down with a wild jab-uppercut-jab-uppercut combination. Santos merely slid backwards, countered with the left hook, and floored Blachowicz with the following right hand. As soon as Blachowicz hit the mat, Santos continued to overwhelm him with a barrage of hammer fists from top position. Shortly thereafter, the referee jumped in and waved off the fight.  

In his post-fight interview, Santos gave a heartfelt tribute to the many people of Brazil who had recently died in fires and floods. Santos also went on to call out both Anthony Smith and Jon Jones for a title fight, depending on who arose the victor at UFC 235. Considering the fact that he’s one of the few Light Heavyweights yet to challenge Jones, and the last person to hand Smith a loss, Santos does breed considerable interest as a title challenger. After Jones and Smith decide who will be the king of the division, Santos may very well receive the first title shot of his career. Considering his quality of entertainment in the octagon, it is almost certain that no fan will disapprove.  

Despite the grandiosity of the main event, it was not the only bout fraught with spine-tingling action. In addition to the big winner (Thiago Santos), three other fighters on the card received $50K performance bonuses for their electrifying performances. Stefan Struve received his bonus for overcoming early adversity, and taking home an early, second-round stoppage via head & arm choke. To cap off his triumphant victory, Struve decided to retire in the octagon, dedicating his performance as a final tribute to the MMA masses. Michal Oleksiejczuk earned himself a 50K bonus with a first-round-TKO when he floored Gian Villante with a liver-ripping, body shot and followed up with a few ground strikes to “Tie the bow”. Perhaps the most brutal performance of the night was dished out by Dwight Grant, when knocked out Carlo Pedersoli Jr. with a counter, right cross that sent the Italian spinning like a top before landing on his face.  



Official Results 

  • Thiago Santos Def. Jan Blachowicz via KO/TKO (Punches) 0:39 into rd. 3 
  • Stefan Struve Def. Marcos Rogerio De Lima via SUB (Head & Arm choke) 2:21 into rd. 2 
  • Michal Oleksiejczuk Def. Gian Villante via KO/TKO (Body Shot) 1:34 into rd. 1 
  • Liz Carmouche Def. Lucie Pudilova via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3 
  • Petr Yan Def. John Dodson via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3 
  • Magomed Ankalaev Def. Klidson Faria De Abreu via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3 
  • Dwight Grant Def. Carlo Pedersoli Jr. Via KO/TKO (Right Cross) 4:59 into rd. 1 
  • Chris Fishgold Def. Daniel Teymur via SUB (Rear Naked Choke) 1:10 into rd. 2 
  • Gillian Robertson Def. Veronica Macedo via SUB (Rear Naked Choke) 3:27 into rd. 2 
  • Damir Hadzovic Def. Marco Polo Reyes via KO/TKO (Ground & Pound) 2:03 into rd. 2 
  • Ismail Naurdiev Def. Michel Prazeres via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3 
  • Carlos Diego Ferreira Def. Rustam Khabilov via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3 
  • Damir Ismagulov Def. Joel Alvarez via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3 

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