Fresh off a decision loss to Aleksandar Rakic, Thiago Santos (21-9-0) has lost two of his last three fights. The 37-year-old No. 5 returns to the octagon this Saturday against another kickboxer, No. 10 Johnny Walker (18-5-0).
Santos is probably not on the bubble, which is good for him, but another loss will likely knock him out of the title shot conversation.
It wasn’t that long ago when Santos took former champion Jon Jones to the limit, losing a split-decision some fans thought he won at UFC 239 in July 2019.
Times have changed for both fighters.
Women’s bantamweight Yana Kunitskaya, the fiancée of Santos, recently announced that they are expecting their first child. That means Kunitskaya will soon join Mackenzie Dern, Michelle Waterson, Sara McMann, and Nina Nunes as fighting moms.
There is no lack of motivation for Santos to push forward on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Walker recently snapped a two-fight skid by stopping Ryan Spann last September. Walker came in with a lot of hype from the Dana White Contender Series. At 29, the world is at Walker’s feet, but he suffered a torn pectoral earlier in the year that took some time to heal.
At any rate, this fight is an excellent opportunity for Walker to leapfrog back into the top 5 with a big win.
“Marreta” will have a 4-inch height and a 6-inch reach disadvantage, but he is used to fighting bigger fighters. These two like to stand and strike, so watch for a spinning backfist or a guillotine choke attempt in this one.
Also, let’s not forget that Santos has a TKO win over current champion Jan Blachowicz. A big win could fast-track him to a rematch.
As Dana White likes to say, let’s see what happens. This one could be a banger.
In the Clinch – Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker kick off UFC Vegas 38 – More Resources
- Beckett Card Catalog – Thiago Santos UFC Cards
- Beckett Card Catalog – Johnny Walker UFC Cards
- Secondary Market Pricing – Thiago Santos UFC Cards
- Secondary Market Pricing – Johnny Walker UFC Cards
- 2021 Panini UFC Prizm Trading Cards Checklist
- 2020 Topps UFC Striking Signatures Trading Cards Checklist
- 2019 Topps UFC Chrome Trading Cards Checklist
In the Clinch – Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker kick off UFC Vegas 38 – Image Gallery
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