UFC light heavyweight Thiago Santos promised to be “100 times better” in his return to the Octagon at UFC 259 against Aleksandar Rakic.
The last time we saw Santos, he lost in an upset to Glover Teixeira when he was submitted in the third round of that fight. Santos had success early and even dropped Teixeira in the fight, but eventually, the ring rust showed as Santos wore down and was tapped out. After losing a razor-thin split decision to Jon Jones at UFC 239 in July 2019, Santos missed over a year of action due to having double knee surgery and also catching COVID-19. So you can see why it’s somewhat excusable that he wasn’t as sharp when he fought Teixeira.
Speaking to AG Fight, Santos told fans to expect a more prepared version of himself when he takes on Rakic at UFC 259. With his fiancee Yana Kunitskaya going out there and beating Ketlen Vieira at UFC Vegas 20, Santos is hoping to do the same at UFC 259.
“I am much more prepared than the last time I fought Glover. I now had more time and the fight with Glover was a warm-up. I was without a fight for a long time, I felt I had no time to fight, I was late, without wanting to make excuses. Now I am 100% prepared and 100 times better than the last time. I have been paying more attention to my wrestling, my jiu-jitsu. Not that I didn’t train before the fight against Glover, but now even more. For sure it will be another Thiago ‘Marreta’. Always aggressive, looking for time, but with time, conscious and it will be another fight,” Santos said.
Despite losing to Jones and Teixeira in his last two fights, Santos is still the No. 2 contender in the UFC light heavyweight division, so a win over Rakic keeps him right at the top of the division. Remember, it was just two years ago in February 2019 when he knocked out current UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. He then nearly defeated Jones to take his title in his next fight. Though Santos is on a two-fight losing skid, you’d be making a mistake to think that he doesn’t have a little gas left at age 37.