UFC Vegas 50 Fight Breakdown: Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev


MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC Vegas 50, a five-round light heavyweight bout between Thiago Santos and Magomed Ankalaev. The event takes place on Saturday, March 12 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Magomed Ankalaev (-600)

Ankalaev (16-1) is the No. 6 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 29-year-old Russian is 7-1 overall in the UFC and he has won his last seven straight fights after losing his UFC debut to Paul Craig at the last second. Since then, Ankalaev has picked up wins over the likes of Volkan Oezdemir, Nikita Krylov, Ion Cutelaba, and Marcin Prachnio. Ankalaev is a very good striker who is super technical on the feet with massive power when he connects. We have seen Ankalaev land several brutal knockouts during his UFC career but there have been other fights where he is just patient and looks to outstrike his opponents from distance and win on points. Not only that, but he also has decent wrestling and a good gas tank, too. Overall Ankalaev is a serious threat for the UFC light heavyweight title, and if he can beat Santos, he could be one win away from fighting for a belt.

Thiago Santos (+425)

Santos (22-9) is the No. 5 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC. The 38-year-old Brazilian has been in the UFC for nearly a decade now and he has fought and defeated many of the best fighters in the sport at both 185lbs and 205lbs over the years. Some of Santos’ best wins include Jan Blachowicz, Johnny Walker, Jack Hermansson, Anthony Smith, and Kevin Holland, to name a few, with many of his losses coming against highly-ranked opposition. Santos has been a devastating striker for years. He has feared knockout power in all of his limbs and for many years we have seen him brutally knock his opponents out inside the Octagon. Of course, he’s also been on the wrong end of some bad knockouts as well, but that’s par for the course with Santos’ fighting style. He’s been a great fighter for so long, but at age 38, perhaps it’s now time that Santos is on a decline in his career.

Fight Breakdown: This should be a competitive striking match between two of the light heavyweight division’s best fighters, but it’s hard to go against Ankalaev in this spot. He’s been on such a roll as of late and in this sport, momentum is a big thing. Santos just hasn’t been performing all that well as of late and really has no momentum to speak of coming into this fight. Ankalaev is the younger man and he has far more upside compared to Santos. Other than Santos landing a big shot, it’s just hard to see him winning this fight. I’m looking at a patient Ankalaev to outstrike Santos and win a decision or potentially get a late finish. The odds are steep, but Ankalaev should win this fight, and he will likely be a pretty popular parlay choice given he is the clear favorite in this fight.

Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev

Written by Adam Martin.

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