After being outworked in the first round by Elias Theodorou, Thiago Santos was able to gradually work his way into their fight at UFC Fight Night 80, eventually putting his opponent in real trouble in the final five minutes to help secure a unanimous decision victory.
Theodorou immediately out with a couple of head kicks that don’t connect. He does score with a body kick and Santos comes back with a leg kick in return.
Another hard kick upstairs from Theodorou. If he can find a home for it that’ll leave a mark, but for now Santos is avoiding it.
Santos lands a leg kick and Theodorou gives one back in return, but it’s not as heavy. Nice punch then a kick from him soone after though.
Body kick from Theodorou. He jumps into a front kick, but doesn’t connect. Low kicks continue for Santos. Superman punch into a kick from Theodorou.
Three solid body kicks in a short space of time from Theodorou. He continues landing with that technique, even jumping into a switched up version of it. A head kick from Theodorou just whistles over Santos’ head.
Santos with a good spinning kick now. He tries to back Santos up to the cage with punches, but Theodorou times a front kick to the body nicely and Santos loses his balance.
Theodorou with kicks into a clinch against the cage in the final 30 seconds. Santos able to push away in the final 10 and that’s the last meaningful action of the round that clearly went the way of the much busier Theodorou.
Leg kick from santos to start the second. A couple more land and Theodorou goes to the body with his kick.
Santos moves forward aggressively and lands an elbow. Theodorou looks to clinch up and work a takedown. It’s thwarted at first by a cage grab, but he eventually completes it anyway. Santos works his back to the cage and is able to stand up.
Theodorou still pressing Santos up against the cage potentially looking for another takedown. He’s warned to stay busy as the action stalls. Working hard on a single leg now, but Santos lands elbows down on him and so he lets that go and goes back to the clinch.
Santos with a couple of knees and continues to try to defend as Theodorou looks for a single leg again. More elbows from Santos and again that puts Theodorou off.
The ref seperates them and Theodorou lands a body kick but eats a punch in return. Santos looking to get busier now and Theodorou clinches and marches him towards the cage while having to endure a sustained assault of punches and elbows from the Brazilian.
Nevertheless, Theodorou does get him to the cage, but after a bit of a stalemate Santos spins out.
Santos trying to work a takedown of his own now and he gets it. Theodorou to his knees and Santos doesn’t commit to take his back so he’s able to spin away and get up. Immediately Theodorou goes for a takedown of his own and lands it. Santos pops right back up, but Theodorou throws him down again just as the round ends.
Theodorou back to the kicking game to the body. Santos with a flurry of punches and Theodorou clinches and presses him to the cage. He’s in on the single and Santos keeps on his feet for now and lands elbows.
Theodorou continues in the clinch and tries to bring him down as the ref warns him to get busy. Nothing doing though so they do get separated.
Back to the center of the cage and they engage with Theodorou lands a knee. Theodorou barrels into a takedown attempt, running across the cage, but can’t get it. Santos trying to land offense from here and he’s opened up a deep cut above Theodorou’s right eye which forces a stoppage, but the doc says he’s ok to continue.
They restart from the clinch and there’s an exchange of strikes. Santos suddenly doing some nice work from the thai clinch with punishing knees and Theodorou looks hurt. He’s staggering a bit, but is able to push Santos into the cage and stall the action momentarily while he gets his bearings.
Theodorou tries for the takedown, but they scramble and get back up. Santos again lands some hard knees. Theodorou backing away now and rubs at his right eye. Ref stops it saying there was an eye poke. He’s ok to continue though.
Santos looks to continue where he left off with good offense as Theodorou desperately just tries to see out the remaining seconds of the fight, and despite more knees coming his way he doest just that.
Santos came back strong in the final round there, while Theodorou appeared to have the first in his favor, so it could all hinge on the second round. The judges decision is in and they unanimously see it in favor of Santos with two seeing the final round as a 10-8 for the Brazilian (29-28, 29-27 x2).