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.

Who did it better: Jorge Masvidal or Kid Yamamoto

Jorge Masvidal broke the UFC record for the fastest KO in history on July 6, snapping Ben Askren’s undefeated streak with a brutal flying knee.

At UFC 239, “Gamebred” anticipated a takedown attempt from Askren and counteracted “Funky” with a flying knee. Askren was knocked out cold, and Masvidal was quick to bask in the glory of his swift victory. The fight ended officially at the five second mark of round 1. However, Masvidal believes if the referee had intervened sooner, the fight would have finished within 2 or 3 seconds.

It is unlikely that Masvidal’s new record will be beaten any time soon. The former record holder, Duane Ludwig held it for 13 years. He won via a six-second stoppage of Jonathan Goulet at UFC Fight Night 3, January 2006.

However, there is another MMA fighter that set the gold standard for the quickest first-round finish. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto went head to head with his rival, Kazuyuki Miyata at the K-1: Hero’s 5 competition in 2006 (the same year Ludwig took home his record.) He delivered a flying knee finish almost straight away.

The bell rang, Yamamoto ran and leapt forward with a perfectly timed flying knee. “Little Hercules” Miyata absorbed the blow and fell to the floor, ending the fight as fast as it started. The fight officially finished within 4 seconds, but Miyata was seeing stars at around 2 seconds into the first round. See the explosive finish here:

Aside from the remarkably similar timings and finishes, there are many parallels between each matchup. Both Japanese fighters in the K-1 Hero bout shared a celebrity status that fueled anticipation for the 2006 fight. The explosive finish added notoriety towards Yamamoto that solidified his reputation as a world-class fighter. Likewise, the growing rivalry between “Funky” and “Gamebred” made their UFC 239 matchup one of the most anticipated events of the year.

Just like Ben Askren, Kazuyuki Miyata experienced the sudden KO loss but was nevertheless a worthy opponent who had earnt his stripes. He was one of the most respected opponents in the lightweight division and both Miyata and Askren were Olympic wrestlers.

“Kid” Yamamoto and “Gamebred” Masvidal have proven their worth over their lengthy MMA careers, beating several MMA veterans. They have endured their fair share of losses, but their performances in the face of adversity speak for themselves. Yamamoto has trumped Royler Gracie, Caol Uno and Genki Sudo. Meanwhile, Masvidal has defeated Yves Edwards and Donald Cerrone (to name a few).

In the height of his career, “Kid” Yamamoto was perceived as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Similarly, Jorge Masvidal is universally respected as one of the strongest adversaries in the UFC.

Yamamoto embodied a Japanese warrior who had no fear. This is very much the case for Masvidal who excels under pressure and conflict. Their technical ability, agility and timing demonstrated by their flying knee finishes is a testament to their fearless fighting style. Unfortunately, Yamamoto was fighting another battle: cancer. He died as a result in September 2018.

Whether these fighters were on the giving or receiving end of lightning-fast flying knees, they have all been instrumental in the growth of the sport. Kid Yamamoto could certainly give Jorge Masvidal and Duane Ludwig a run for their money. Which first-round finish impressed you the most and why? Let us know in the comments below.



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Duke Roufus praises candid Ben Askren and his ‘special winning attitude’ after UFC 239 loss

We’ve seen many fighters handle losses well, but perhaps none quite like Ben Askren.

Askren suffered his first pro loss in devastating fashion when he was knocked out in just five seconds – a UFC record – by Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239. He  handled the loss just about as well as anyone could.

And his coach Duke Roufus, who was in his corner for the July 6 fight, praised Askren for the way he handled things and his ability to address the media just days after.

“One, it’s a special winning attitude,” Roufus told MMA Junkie Radio (go to the 1:23:46 mark in the video above). “Even in losing, he’s going to focus on winning again right away, and how do you do that? You own it, you deal with, you accept it and you figure it out. He’s a great role model for young wrestlers, athletes and mixed martial arts.

“Don’t play the blame game. It’s so easy to make up excuses. It’s a mixed martial arts fight. He also gave Jorge a lot of credit – great move, and he even said he doesn’t deserve a rematch. Ben’s very candid, and that’s what I love about him.”

Askren did a lot of talking prior to the fight, and successfully built it up to one of the most anticipated fights on a stacked card that had two championship bouts with two of the greatest UFC fighters of all time, Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes.

The build-up made the fall down that much harder. But Askren seemed to take it all in stride. Naturally, Roufus was concerned when Askren went down and admitted he wasn’t quite sure what happened since everything happened so quickly with Masvidal’s flying knee.

“Anytime a guy goes down on the canvas and they’re hurt, as long as I’ve been doing this, it never gets easier,” Roufus said. “It never gets better. I was very concerned. I didn’t see the move happen exactly, so when I saw Ben on the mat, I thought maybe his orbital was smashed, his nose, and it looked like he was in a lot of pain. It was hard, and luckily it landed on the neck – but they all hurt.

“Just a great attitude and … MMA is such a crazy sport in the cage that there’s so many ways to win and lose that you got to be prepared to lose in this thing. It’s very hard to be Floyd Mayweather, undefeated.”

Roufus didn’t get a chance to speak to Askren right after the fight since he was rushed to a hospital. A former fighter himself and a renowned coach, Roufus has seen it all and was happy with the way Askren was taken care of after the fight.

“The UFC were worried about his health, so they rushed him out,” Roufus said. “He was taken straight from the medicals in the back to the hospital, and I applaud the UFC, the Nevada State Athletic Commission. I just love that they’re so cautious.”

Masvidal followed up with two shots after Askren was out cold, which he dubbed as “super necessary.” Many were critical of Masvidal’s actions, but Roufus said he didn’t pay much mind to it.

“I didn’t really pay attention,” Roufus said. “It was in the moment and they’re fighters. But my thing is, just have some rules of engagement with the smack talk, too. Just keep it cheeky, funny – that’s cool. Let’s face it: We all love Muhammad Ali. He was one of the best trash talkers. Just don’t insult people’s families, cultures. I think MMA is growing exponentially, and lets use this to unify people, not divide.”

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

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Was that super necessary? Jorge Masvidal zings Ben Askren on Twitter

The actual fight between Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren was decided in the blink of an eye, but the trash talk between the UFC welterweight contenders shows no sign of slowing down.

Askren has done a good job handling the fallout from his record-setting, five-second knockout loss to Masvidal last weekend at UFC 239, using humor to deflect the loss and getting out in front of the media and owning up to the loss.

After mostly keeping his mouth shut during the buildup to the fight, though, Masvidal is taking advantage of any and all opportunities to pour salt in the wound now that he answered Askren in the cage.

So it was, when Askren jumped on to Twitter on Friday.

Masvidal, for his part, wasted little time replying.

To which Askren attempted a comeback of his own.

If nothing else, Askren got some sympathy from others who have been in position. Like Joe Lauzon, who suffered a quick head-kick knockout to Anthony Pettis at UFC 144 in 2012.

Anyway, that’s where things stand for now. We’re certain this won’t be the last we hear from these two.

The Blue Corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly serious, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.