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UFC Fight Night 203: Thiago Santos vs Magomed Ankalaev preview

Thiago Santos vs Magomed Ankalaev

Latest Odds & Fight Info

Main Event odds Santos +385 at Bovada | Ankalaev -550 at Bovada
When Saturday, March 12 – main card from 4pm PST
Where UFC Apex – Las Vegas, Nevada
Watch Live ESPN+ (US), ESPN (AU), BT Sport (UK), UFC Fight Pass

Magomed Ankalaev will look to take another step towards earning a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship with a win this Saturday over Thiago Santos. This matchup will serve as the main event of UFC Fight Night 203 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Thiago Santos vs Magomed Ankalaev betting preview

Magomed Ankalaev (16-1-0) has been on a tear through the UFC since losing in his debut fight with the promotion to Paul Craig back in 2018. Ankalaev is a perfect 7-0-0 since that loss, most recently earning decision wins over Nikita Krylov and Volkan Oezdemir. The 29 year old has nine knockout wins in his career including four thus far in the UFC.

Thiago Santos (22-9-0) snapped a three-fight losing streak with a decision win over Johnny Walker last October. Santos was once one of the hottest light heavyweights in the UFC, earning a title shot against Jon Jones with an 8-1-0 run that included seven knockout victories. That fight against Jones ended in a split decision loss as Santos suffered multiple leg injuries early in the fight. He hasn’t been quite the same since, losing to Glover Teixeira in his return to the octagon and to Aleksandar Rakic prior to his win over Walker.

Any time you see a betting price like this, it’s easy to get nostalgic and start wondering if Santos can return to his previous form to deliver an upset as a big underdog. But Santos’s last knockout win came over three years ago against Jan Blachowicz in February of 2019. Santos is now 38 years old and had had to go through major surgery and rehab on his leg since then. It would be a bit ambitious to select him over Ankalaev, a hungry young fighter in the middle of his prime.

Should this fight be a pure striking battle, it’s possible that Santos catches Ankalaev with a well-timed shot for the upset. That’s quite unlikely though; Ankalaev is the more aggressive striker and the superior grappler should he choose to use that weapon in his arsenal to take this fight to the ground. With five rounds to work with, look for Ankalaev to chip away at Santos throughout before eventually landing the right combination to end this fight before it reaches the judge’s table.

Magomed Ankalaev by KO/TKO


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