Recent UFC title challenger Thiago Santos: ‘Everything is fixed’ after four-hour surgery


Thiago Santos is in good spirits and on the comeback trail following extensive surgeries stemming from his loss to Jon Jones at UFC 239.

Santos (21-7 MMA, 13-6 UFC) managed to push UFC light heavyweight titleholder Jones (25-1 MMA, 19-1 UFC) to the brink earlier this month in a five-round fight that resulted in a split decision win for Jones. It was clear “Marreta” hurt himself early in the fight, but managed to go the distance with the champion.

After the event, it was revealed Santos has suffered a thorough amount of damage to his left knee. The immediate diagnosis was a torn ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus. Upon further review, he was deemed to have meniscus damage in his right knee, as well.

The Brazilian went under the knife Wednesday in Los Angeles, and after a four-hour procedure, provided a social media update reporting everything had gone smoothly (via Twitter):

“After 4 hours of surgery, the drs say everything is fixed! Now my focus is on a full recovery so I can get back in there better and stronger!”

Santos, 36, did not provide an updated timeline for his return to competition. MMA Junkie previously reported he is expected to be out until at least mid-2020, and already there are calls for a rematch with Jones.

“Bones” appears to be willing. He recently wished Santos a quick recovery and said he expects to share the octagon with him again.

For complete coverage of UFC 239, check out the UFC Results.

Thiago Santos ‘dreams’ of rematch against Jon Jones

Thiago Santos had the biggest fight of his MMA carer this past Saturday against Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 239. Thought he officially lost a split decision, he gained the respect of the entire MMA community for not only giving Jones a tough fight, but for fighting 25 minutes with two severely-damaged knees.

Although Santos will be out until mid-2020 after having knee surgery, he told Combate that he isn’t giving up hope of eventually fighting Jones for a second time.

“Surely a rematch with him is a dream,” Santos said. “I want to recover from my knee and I sure want to fight him 100 percent, to see how it will be with me being 100 percent, playing my game, doing what we trained. There’s definitely going to be another fight.”

In the wide-ranging interview, Santos said he felt his knee was injured early in the first round, but he managed to gut it out and go the full five rounds with the best fighter on the planet in Jones. It’s an impressive feat even if he didn’t get his hand raised.

Santos says that while he didn’t win the fight, he is happy to show other fighters and the fans watching what it means to have a big heart and to leave it all out in the Octagon win, lose, or draw.

“I do not know if I shocked the world, but I think I could leave a message, which is what I like to leave, to pass on, I think the most important thing is the legacy we leave,” Santos said. “I think in this fight I left a lot of people happy, I spent a lot of this fight overcoming the difficulties. I think I was having a hard time at the beginning of the fight and a lot of people would have stopped there, so at least a good message, overcoming, resisting, you keep trying, not giving up, I think that message I was able to pass to people.”

For now, Santos will recover from his injuries sustained in the fight. But you know he wants to get his hands on Jones again one day. After all, it’s his dream.

“We want a rematch, yes, but let’s see what the UFC plans will be,” Santos said. “There’s a lot of time left, let’s wait for the scenes from the next chapters.”

Should Thiago Santos get a rematch with Jon Jones when he returns to the Octagon?

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UFC 239 ‘Thrill and Agony’: See Kamaru Usman’s face when Jorge Masvidal KOs Ben Askren

Once again, the UFC takes us behind the scenes of its latest pay-per-view – this time at UFC 239 in Las Vegas.

UFC 239 took place this past Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass.

In the UFC 239 “Thrill and Agony” preview, we get a behind-the-scenes look at the night’s featured action, including Jon Jones’ (25-1 MMA, 19-1 UFC) light heavyweight title defense against Thiago Santos (21-7 MMA, 13-6 UFC) in the main event, Amanda Nunes’ (18-4 MMA, 11-1 UFC) women’s bantamweight title defense against Holly Holm (12-5 MMA, 5-5 UFC) in the co-headliner, and, of course, Jorge Masvidal’s (34-13 MMA, 11-6 UFC) record-setting finish of Ben Askren (19-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in the featured bout.

Check out the full clip above to see the outpouring of emotions on all sides following the night’s featured action, including an audience full of shocked fans and fighters when Masvidal stopped Askren with a flying knee in five seconds.

The video is a preview of “Thrill and Agony.” The full episode is available on UFC Fight Pass for subscribers.

For complete coverage of UFC 239, check out the UFC Results section of the site.

Looking Back at UFC 239 and What Could Have Been

Throughout his career, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has rarely been challenged inside of the cage. Outside of it, he’s obviously dealt with his fair share of issues. But in competition, he’s displayed the type of dominance that is somewhat unparalleled in the sport. That wasn’t the case on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 239, however.

For the first time since his five-round thriller with Alexander Gustafsson in 2013, Jones was faced with a legitimate challenge.

Prior to his pay-per-view headliner against Thiago Santos, many felt as if Jones would once again cruise to another successful title defense. After all, Santos, despite winning four in a row leading up to his bout against “Bones”, is a former middleweight who has been seen as a dangerous but fairly average fighter.

UFC 239
Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos

Once the fight began, however, the Brazilian quickly showed that he was there to win. An aggressive fighter known primarily for his aggressive kicking game, Santos came out firing but remained patient and used a strategic game plan.

Over the course of five rounds, “Marreta” used a wide variety of kicks to attack Jones to both the body and the legs. In fact, Jones was unable to walk out of the Octagon on his own following the fight due to Santos’ attack.

In addition, the Brazilian continuously threw big shots and refused to let Jones walk all over him. At the end of the fight, it was clear that the contest had been incredibly close. In fact, many fans and some media members had felt as if Santos had done enough to steal the title away from Jones.

When the decision was read, however, it was Jones who had been given a split-decision victory. Overall, the bout was an intriguing one, as it was a riveting five-round fight that was both incredibly close and incredibly strategic.

In addition, it was a breath of fresh air to see Jones finally matched against a difficult test. What’s so unfortunate, however, is that Santos was forced to fight on essentially one leg.

The Injury

Early on in the fight, it was clear that the Brazilian had suffered what appeared to be a knee injury to his left knee. Although he remained strong and continued to kick with the injured leg throughout the fight, Santos was clearly impacted. Most notably, the injury affected Santos’ stability, as his knee gave out on him multiple times.

Earlier this week, ESPN reported the severity of Santos’ injury: a torn ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus. While this makes the Brazilian’s performance all the more impressive, it’s also incredibly unfortunate that we didn’t get to see the best version of him

What Could Have Been and What Lies Ahead

The fight was an intriguing back-and-forth contest regardless, but who knows what would have happened had “Marreta” been fully healthy. For the first time, perhaps we would have seen a fighter capable of clearly beating Jones. Or, perhaps we would have seen “Bones” forced to dig deep, overcome adversity and truly display his greatness.

With so many questions surrounding the fight and a feeling of “what if?”, a rematch could be of much interest. In rematches against both Gustafsson and Daniel Cormier, Jones made clear improvements and performed much better. Perhaps he’d do that against Santos. At the same time, however, it’d be intriguing to see just how special of a performance Santos could put on against Jones at full health.

At some point, it seems necessary that we get the answer to these questions.

Main Photo
Embed from Getty Images

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