Thiago Santos put on a truly inspiring performance against Jon Jones (highlights) in the main event of last weekend’s (Sat., July 6, 2019) UFC 239 from Las Vegas, Nevada.
However, the performance may have just gone from inspiring to outright jaw-dropping based on the injuries he sustained early in the fight. “Marreta” came out with a brilliant game plan of battering the taller Jones’ lead leg, and it worked. But he clearly suffered a debilitating injury in the fight as well, which became more noticeable as the fight wore on.
Santos’ left knee repeatedly buckled as he attempted to put weight on it, far from the optimal set of circumstances while fighting arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time. Today, we find out just why. According to a report from MMA Fighting that followed an initial report from Combate, Santos’ team revealed he tore the ACL, MCL, PCL, and meniscus in his left knee.
Santos will obviously require constructive surgery and will be out of action until the middle part of 2020. He had previously surged to light heavyweight title contention on the strength of three knockout wins since September 2018.
The report also stated that Santos’ right knee, which required its own separate surgery for a torn meniscus earlier this year, also sustained damage at UFC 239. That damage was due to overcompensating from the injuries to his left knee. Santos will undergo further testing to decide if that injury requires further surgery.
Despite the serious injuries, Santos nearly shocked the world anyway. He gave the legendary Jones arguably his toughest test and only lost by split decision. And he did all of that with essentially one leg.
Santos’ Thoughts On UFC 239
Santos opened up on that dynamic at the UFC 239 post-fight presser:
“The fight was going exactly as we trained,” Santos said. “It was a good fight. I was seeing everything, all of his strikes, and was conscious during the fight. My knee really bothered me during the fight. I did everything I could in the conditions I was. It’s a fight. We’re never 100 percent sure that we will win, but I’m satisfied. I left everything in there even after injuring my knee in the first round.”
‘Marreta’ also added that he thought he landed more strikes than “Bones.” He was understandably disappointed he could not give his all in the cage:
“I fought four rounds on a southpaw stance, unable to move like I usually move, unable to throw the strikes I usually throw, I didn’t shock the world because of those circumstances, but I did what I could do in those conditions and I’m satisfied. I think the fight was really close, I think I hit him more than he hit me, but I don’t know. In the end, I was very disappointed for what happened with my knee and that I wasn’t able to give my 100 percent.”
Now, the top contender will go back to the drawing board after recovering from one of the more significant injuries we’ve heard of. Here’s to hoping he can return to his prior form because it’s painfully obvious he’s one of the best 205-pound fighters on the planet.