UFC Fight Night: Blachowicz vs. Santos Full Results
In the UFC’s first visit to Prague, Czech Republic, the local fans got treated to a main event that had a lot riding on it in terms of the light heavyweight division title picture as #4 ranked Jan Blachowicz faced #6 Thiago “Marreta” Santos. With Jon Jones set to defend his title against Anthony Smith next week, the winner of this one would likely emerge as the next number one contender for the light heavyweight gold.
Fans around the world didn’t believe that this fight would go the distance, and they were correct as the heavy handed Santos, who was on a three fight win streak going into this fight, kept his hype train rolling with a stoppage of Blachowicz by TKO in the third round.
Perhaps to the surprise of most of us watching, the first two rounds were very calculated from both fighters as they were trying to feel each other out. We didn’t get to witness the trademark explosion from the first bell that Santos got us accustomed to over his last few fights. In the third round though, the unlikely advance from Blachowicz, who seemed to have the fight going at his preferred pace, opened him up to a powerful counter combination from Santos, concluded by a left right on the jaw which dropped the Pole and that was all she wrote, even before the flurry of ground and pound strikes that was unloaded by Santos for good measure.
With this victory, Santos showed that there is another dimension to his game as he proved that he doesn’t have to rely on an early knockout to win, by staying composed and waiting for the right moment to unleash his power. After the fight, he also got to work on the mic by stating that he will be in Vegas next week watching the Jones vs. Smith fight and that he is ready to beat either of them. After that impressive showing, he might just have cemented himself as the next in line.
In the co-main event of the evening, heavyweights Stefan Struve, who is still only 31 by the way, and Marcos Rogerio De Lima faced off in what surprisingly turned into a grappling match on the canvas. In the first round De Lima dropped Struve with the very first punch of the fight and controlled the round completely from top position and looked to be in the driver’s seat going into the second round. The second round though, could not have been more of a polar opposite to the first as Struve used his size advantage to secure a take down and smoothly advance positions before locking in an arm triangle choke to land the victory.
In an emotional post-fight interview with Dan Hardy, Struve spoke about his heart problems in the past and announced that this was very likely the last fight of his career. Struve fought 22 times inside the Octagon, accumulating a record of 13 wins and 9 losses over 10 years.
Elsewhere on the main card, in the second of three light heavyweight bouts on this card, Gian Villante was trying to put together a run of consecutive wins for the first time since 2015 against the returning Pole Michal Oleksiejczuk. Oleksiejczuk, for whom it was only his second fight in the UFC, came storming out of the gates and landed a heavy body shot a minute into the first round which made Villante take a knee and open up to punches which caused Herb Dean stop the fight. With this very impressive outing, the 24-year-old Oleksiejczuk extended his unbeaten streak to 11 fights and certainly made himself a fighter to look out for in the light heavyweight division in 2019.
The roof was raised in Prague when Czech prospect Lucie Pudilova made her walk out to the Octagon for her flyweight debut against #6 ranked veteran Liz Carmouche. In what was Carmouche’s second fight at 125 after making the switch from bantamweight, her experience and jiu jitsu proved to be a little too much for Pudilova as the California native secured an unanimous decision victory, which will likely put her into the divisions top five and possibly on the brink of a title shot.
#14 ranked bantamweight prospect Petr Yan was out in Prague looking for his fourth UFC win in as many appearances against tricky seven year veteran, #9 John Dodson. In what in many ways looked like the changing of the guard, Yan showed off his skills in a dominant performance and certainly put himself on the radar of fellow bantamweight contenders. This comfortable victory, despite being wobbled in the second round, will likely guarantee the Russian fighter a shot at an opponent near the top of the division in his next outing.
In the night’s opening bout, two young light heavyweights in Magomed Ankalaev and Klidson Abreu squared off to try and throw their names into the next set of the 205 pound division rankings. Talented Russian Ankalaev came out on top in this one against his Brazilian counterpart and bounced back from his first career loss last time out in what was his UFC debut. Ankalaev landed a strong uppercut in the first round which broke Abreu’s nose and left him unsettled as the Russian gained control of the fight and secured the unanimous decision victory.
Full results below:
Light Heavyweight: Thiago Santos def. Jan Blachowicz via R3 TKO (Punches)
Heavyweight: Stefan Struve def. Marcos Rogerio de Lima via R2 Sub. (Arm-triangle choke)
Light Heavyweight: Michal Oleksiejczuk def. Gian Villante via R1 TKO (Body shot)
W-Flyweight: Liz Carmouche def. Lucie Pudilova via Unanimous Decision
Bantamweight: Petr Yan def. John Dodson via Unanimous Decision
Catchweight (209lbs.): Magomed Ankalaev def. Klidson Abreu* via Unanimous Decision
Welterweight: Dwight Grant def. Carlo Pedersoli Jr. via R1 KO (Punches)
Featherweight: Chris Fishgold def. Daniel Teymur via R2 Sub. (Rear-Naked Choke)
W-Flyweight: Gillian Robertson def. Veronica Macedo via R2. Sub. (Rear-Naked Choke)
Lightweight: Damir Hadzovic def. Polo Reyes via R2. TKO (Punches)
Welterweight: Ismail Naurdiev def. Michel Prazeres via Unanimous Decision
Catchweight (157lbs.): Carlos Diego Ferreira* def. Rustam Khabilov via Unanimous Decision
Lightweight: Damir Ismagulov def. Joel Alvarez via Unanimous Decision
Sports journalist currently based in CA, USA.