Santos earns finish in main event spotlight


A grueling light heavyweight clash between middleweight standouts Thiago Santos and Eryk Anders ended suddenly at Ginásio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo on Saturday night, as “Marreta” made his 205-pound debut a successful one, halting late notice replacement Anders at the end of the third round in their UFC Fight Night main event.

After Santos opened with a kick, Anders went in for the takedown, but the two ended up scrambling and getting back to their feet. Anders remained locked up with his foe, Santos doing whatever necessary to avoid getting grounded. With three minutes left, the two separated, and Santos’ kicks found their mark. Anders continued to work his clinch game, but with a minute left, Santos was free and trying to land bombs from long range.

The two traded blows as round two began, Anders choosing to look for the takedown but ending up on his back as Santos fired off shots from the top position. Around the midway point of the round, the two were standing and Santos was landing hard shots, but Anders responded in kind. With under a minute left, Santos rattled Anders, but the former Alabama linebacker was able to shake off the effects of the blow, even scoring a takedown before the end of the frame.

Anders got off to a good start in the third, landing some strikes before taking Santos to the mat. Anders quickly took his opponent’s back and got both hooks in. Santos escaped and the two rose, and this time Santos went on the attack. Anders avoided any serious trouble and went back into a clinch. With two minutes left, it was another takedown by Anders. Santos got upright, but was returned to the mat seconds later. Again, Santos rose, delivering several hard punches and elbows as Anders clinched. Anders had difficulty standing as the round ended, and after falling to the deck, referee Marc Goddard waved the fight off. The official time of the TKO was 5:00 of round three.

Rio de Janeiro’s Santos, ranked No. 12 in the middleweight division, improves to 19-6. Anders, who replaced the injured Jimi Manuwa, falls to 11-2.


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