Thiago Santos is no stranger to big fights in the Octagon.
He went five rounds with Jon Jones and was the first fighter to win a judge’s scorecard against Bones, arguably the greatest light heavyweight champion in UFC history. He ultimately lost that fight via split decision and has gone 1-2 in his 3 fights since, with his only win coming via decision against Johnny Walker.
With his career seemingly in flux and his main event billing against an ascending fighter who is climbing the rankings in Magomed Ankalaev, this would seem to be his last chance to return to title consideration. The oddsmakers at SI Sportsbook are not confident this will be Santos’s “get-right” fight though. He’s a heavy underdog at +410.
While known for his KO power, Santos is facing a much more well-rounded fighter in Ankalaev, who can get it done on the feet or the ground with his grappling prowess.
Our team at SI tells us how they are betting this fight and some others from this UFC Fight Night card
UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev
Date: Saturday, March 12, 2022 | 7 p.m. ET
Location: UFC APEX, Las Vegas, Nev.
Tafon Nchukwi (+155) vs Azamat Murzakanov (-188)
Kris Moutinho (-150) vs Guido Cannetti (+125)
Dalcha Lungiambula (-125) vs Cody Brundage (+105)
Sabina Mazo (+260) vs Miranda Maverick (-333)
Damon Jackson (-110) vs Kamuela Kirk (-110)
Trevin Jones (+125) vs Javid Basharat (-150)
JJ Aldrich (+105) vs Gillian Robertson (-125)
Matthew Semelsberger (-213) vs AJ Fletcher (+175)
Alex Pereira (-188) vs Bruno Silva (+155)
Drew Dober (-175) vs Terrance McKinney (+145)
Khalil Rountree Jr. (+110) vs Karl Roberson (-133)
Sodiq Yusuff (-250) vs Alex Caceres (+205)
Marlon Moraes (+205) vs Song Yadong (-250)
Thiago Santos (+410) vs Magomed Ankalaev (-550)
SI MMA’s Justin Barrasso:
Magomed Ankalaev has won seven straight fights, and there is every reason to believe that streak will be eight by the end of Saturday night. Ankalaev is a massive favorite against Thiago Santos, whose toughness should never be overlooked. Yet he has one win in his last four bouts, with each performance illustrating he is no longer a top contender. Ankalaev is headed in an entirely different direction, and a win here will further cement his claim for a title shot.
BET: Ankalaev VIA DEC (+140)
SI Video’s Robin Lundberg:
There’s a reason Ankalaev is such a heavy favorite going into this matchup because we’ve all seen this fight before, many times. When a knockout artist like Santos goes up against a well rounded combatant like Ankalaev it usually doesn’t end well. The return isn’t great but I’d just go big on Magomed because it’s tough to call it ending early when a grappler is involved.
BET: Ankalaev VIA DEC (+140); look VIA Sub (+800)
SI Video’s Julian Pinto:
I am actually really interested in the Khalil Rountree Jr.-Karl Roberson bout. I expect the fight to be fought mostly on the feet. Roberson, though, does have five submissions wins and Rountree showed in his fight with Ion Cutelaba that if you smother/grapple him and take away his striking, his strengths are greatly negated. He also showed in his bout with Martin Prachnio he has issues with his cardio, which, in my opinion, led to that loss as he faded in the final round. I think Roberson has more tools to win the fight and I think he will edge out Rountree. But if this fight becomes primarily a kickboxing match, It will be interesting to see how Rountree’s traditional Muay Thai will match up against Roberson’s kickboxing. If that scenario occurs, I believe the fight could become a pick-em.
BET: Karl Roberson VIA DEC (+300)
SI Video’s Doug Vazquez
Terrance “T. Wrecks” McKinney has come into the UFC lightweight division like a wrecking ball, going 2-0 in his first two fights with both via first-round stoppages. With his last victory coming just two weeks ago, McKinney is entering the Octagon on short notice to take on a UFC veteran in Drew Dober. In what is surely to be a fast-paced, violent affair I am going to ride the hot hand in McKinney, who has shown us in his very short career that he is able to get it done standing up or on the mat. While Dober’s experience and cardio would work in his favor if this fight enters the third round, I expect McKinney to keep up his relentless pace and to look for finishes early and often. Once he is able to asses Dober’s timing, he finally will walk away with a second-round victory. Getting a good price here with plus money at SI Sportsbook, so give me McKinney +140 and also maybe look at a long shot dart throw.
BET: Terrance McKinney (+140); look for VIA 2nd RD KO (+1000)
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