The UFC hasn’t officially announced an event on the date yet, but light-heavyweights Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker are set to go to war on September 25th. The bout was first announced by Raphael Marinho. We currently have no location and no other fights announced for the September date, but in the coming weeks/months, we will understand whether Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker will be the main event fight.
Battle of the Brutes: A Look at Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker
Thiago “Marreta” Santos (21-9, 13-8 UFC) is in the biggest rut of his career, with the Brazilian beast losing his last three fights. Santos hasn’t looked like the same fighter since his split decision loss to Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 239.
Since then, he’s been dominated by Glover Teixeira, who submitted Santos with a rear-naked choke in the third round, when the pair headlined UFC Vegas 13. Santos already has a defeat in 2021, when he lost to Aleksandar Rakic via unanimous decision at UFC 259.
Before these defeats, Santos was looking pretty much unstoppable and you could say he’s now at the point where he’s a shadow of his former self. When he stepped up to make his light heavyweight debut in 2018, he was so impressive in his TKO performance over Eryk Anders, that he won a Fight of the Night bonus for his efforts.
Two more staggering knockouts came for Santos, first, he finished Jimi Manuwa, swinging massive left-hooks to connect straight on the temple of Manuwa which knocked him to the canvas. He then fought two months later, knocking out the current light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz with a right hook, following it up and smashing him with ground and pound, which earned “Marreta” the title shot against Jones.
Johnny Walker (18-5, 4-2 UFC) returned from a two-fight skid at UFC Vegas 11, knocking out Ryan Spann with some scary elbows. Spann was edging the first round and looked to takedown Walker, which was a very bad idea. With Spann on the ground, Walker was still on his feet, and he hammered him with punches and ended with elbows. This led to the fight being stopped and Walker back in the winning column.
The former Ultimate Challenge MMA and European Beatdown Light Heavyweight Champion joined the UFC in 2018, after an impressive unanimous decision victory over Henrique da Silva on Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil 2. His first fight in the promotion only lasted a minute and 57 seconds, Walker knocked out Khalil Rountree by grabbing his head and smacking him with his now trademark right elbow.
He repeated this knockout quality in his next two fights. Justin Ledet was caught with a kick to the face, then an unthinkable spinning back fist from Walker dropped Ledet, and he finished him off inside 15 seconds! Misha Cirkunov was the next of Walker’s victims and this one lasted a bit longer, well, it was still only 36 seconds. A flying knee from the Brazilian caught Cirkunov off guard and Walker pounced and ended it right there. These were three Performance of the Night bonuses, in his first three fights in the UFC!
Everyone was surely thinking this guy could really go all the way to a title-shot, but his hot-streak was ended at UFC 244. Corey Anderson dropped bombs on Walker and ended it with a beautiful right-hook. Nikita Krylov was the next fighter to dampen the Walker hype train. After three rounds, Krylov won the fight by unanimous decision.
There will be no complaints from the UFC fans with this fight being setup, as there’s no doubt this is going to be an all out brawl. Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker need to put on an impressive showing to make themselves worthy of being up there fighting for the belt.
Who do you see winning between Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker? Let us know your predictions in the comments below!