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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship title challenger Thiago Santos does not expect his upcoming headliner will last long.
Sixteen months after a historic five-round title battle against Jon Jones, Santos is returning to the Octagon to face another Brazilian and former title challenger beaten by Jones. His thriller with Jones earned him surgeries in both knees, and confined “Marreta” to a wheelchair for two months. Despite the long absence, Santos is ready to pick up where he left off.
“Glover is a complete fighter that looks for the knockout or submission all the time,” Santos told Sherdog. “I would bet that this fight is not going to reach the 5th round. The only assurance I have is that fans will have a lot of fun in our fight.”
Santos also spoke about this matchup on Tuesday to Brazilian journalist Luis Coutinho, where he expressed his feelings about middleweight king Israel Adesanya getting the next light heavyweight title shot. Per UFC President Dana White, Adesanya is expected to be the next in line against new champ Jan Blachowicz, in a move that allowed the middleweight to “cross the line.”
“[A] Few weeks ago, [UFC President Dana White] said the contender would come from the winner of my fight with Glover, now Adesanya got the place,” Santos said incredulously. “Let’s wait and see. Two things I’ve learned in my seven years fighting in UFC: Fights are decided by the fans, and settled only when both fighters sign the contract. I’m sure that if me or Glover have a great [performance], the fans will be eager to see the winner fighting for the belt.”
Santos concluded his interview by claiming that he expects Adesanya to be the favorite in his potential pairing with Blachowicz. He did not look beyond his bout with Teixeira to discuss his chances with either man should he win on Saturday.
Santos will face Teixeira atop UFC on ESPN 17, which will take place on Nov. 7 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The co-main attraction comes in the form of a heavyweight match as former champ Andrei Arlovski squares off against the surging, mullet-sporting Canadian Tanner Boser.
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