- The UFC is finalizing a light heavyweight showdown between Thiago Santos and Alexander Rakic.
- Santos is coming off a loss to Glover Teixeira last November 7th.
- Rakic dominated former title challenger Anthony Smith in his most recent outing.
Less than one week after losing his lofty spot on top of the UFC light heavyweight Santos, Thiago Santos has been given an opportunity to get it back.
Report: Thiago Santos vs. Aleksandar Rakic headed to March UFC event https://t.co/mgXrnFc7GB
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) November 14, 2020
According to a report from ESPN, the UFC is finalizing a bout that will pit the former title challenger against the red hot Alexander Rakic in a UFC event on March 6, 2021. The bout has not been officially announced by the UFC nor has it’s location been given. What is reportedly certain though is that it won’t be the headliner of the event.
First Fight Since Injuries
Wow! Thiago Santos suffered some bad injuries at UFC 239 which will keep him out of action until mid 2020 ? https://t.co/ucJdrnluay
— bjpenndotcom (@bjpenndotcom) July 8, 2019
It can be recalled that Santos headlined UFC Vegas 13 last November 7th at the UFC’s APEX Facility in Last Vegas, Nevada. The bout was the first for “Marreta” since suffering a torn ACL, MCL, PCL, and meniscus during his failed attempt to win the UFC light heavyweight title against Jon Jones at UFC 239 in July 2019.
Despite suffering multiple injuries during the fight, Santos gave Jones a tough time before losing via close split decision. Some people even felt that the Brazilian did enough to upset Jones but the judges thought otherwise. He underwent a double-surgery on his knee but if last week’s fight was any indication, he is 100% healthy and ready to give the gold another try.
However, Santos’ redemption bid hit a brick wall when he was submitted by Glover Teixeira in a back and forth affair last November 7th. Santos appeared to have hurt Teixeira several times in the bout, including the final sequence. But the gritty Teixeira found a way to get to Santos’ back and choke him out for the upset.
Red Hot Rakic
Rakic beats Smith by decision, weird fight I feel like Rakic could of finished him at any point but proceeded to engage him on the ground doing limited ground and pound #UFCVegas8 pic.twitter.com/u7zaQq2o8Y
— InDepthMMA (@InDepthMMA) August 30, 2020
Meanwhile, Alexander Rakic has been red hot. The 28-year old Austrian has risen to 4th in the UFC”s 205-pound division rankings. After losing his MMA debut in a regional circuit in Germany, He won 12 consecutive bouts, including four straight under the UFC banner.
After finally losing to Volkan Oezdemir via disputed split decision in December 2019, Rakic bounced back with the biggest win of his career when he won a five round unanimous decision over former title challenger Anthony “Lionheart” Smith. The Vienna native has a record of 13-2 with nine knockouts and one win via submisison.
Rakic asked for a title shot after beating Smith, but with the loaded light heavyweight division, he’s getting a big opportunity here. The Austrian could very well be one big win away from his first ever title shot. If he beats Santos, he should burst in the title picture right away.
Exciting Once Again
For the first time since March 19th, 2011 someone not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier is the official UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
Polish Power reigns supreme. Jan Blachowicz is the man at 205lbs ? #UFC253
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) September 27, 2020
Since Jon Jones vacated the UFC light heavyweight championship, the division has become exciting once again. For nearly a decade, only Jones and Daniel Cormier held the 205-pound division title. Recently, the UFC crowned a new king when Jan Blachowicz stopped Dominick Reyes. Last week, forty-something Glover Teixeira bolstered his claim for a title shot when he beat Santos.
The UFC was keen on giving middleweight champion Israel Adesanya the first crack at Blachowicz but since Teixeira’s triumph, it sounds like UFC President Dana White will reconsider his previous decision and instead pit Teixeira against Blachowicz for the latter’s first title defense.
Rakic is another up-and-coming fighter while Santos is deserving of another title shot after his narrow loss to Jones. Reyes also nearly beat Jones and could get another crack at gold if he bounces back from his loss to Blachowicz.