UFC Fight Night 203 a.k.a. UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Ankalaev is on the program this Saturday at UFC Apex in Vegas. The event headliner is expected to be a real barnburner as it pits two elite light heavyweight fighters against one another.
On one end, there’s Thiago Santos, the former title challenger who has some impressive wins in his portfolio. On the other end, there’s Magomed Ankalaev, a fighter who’s lost just one fight in his entire professional career.
Online sportsbooks think he’s not going to lose again. At least not this weekend. Their odds suggest Ankalaev is a huge favorite. But keep in mind that in MMA, favorites often fail. So, are we going to see him fail? Let’s find out!
Thiago Santos vs Magomed Ankalaev Odds (UFC Fight Night 203, 2022)
All odds are per FanDuel as of March 8.
Thiago Santos+360Magomed Ankalaev-500
Where and When to Watch
Date: Saturday, March 12Time: ~9:00 PM EDTLocation: UFC Apex in VegasWatch: ESPN
Thiago Santos Wants to Get Back to the Top
As of March 2022, Thiago Santos is sitting in the #5 position in the UFC Light Heavyweight rankings. It’s not bad, but he could’ve been even higher. The reason why he isn’t closer to the top of the table is that he lost three of his previous four UFC fights.
Everything started with the title fight with Jon Jones, which Santos lost by split decision. He then had a chance to bounce back against Glover Teixeira but failed to do so. Teixeira beat him by submission. The next stop was the fight against Aleksandar Rakic. Unfortunately for Santos, he lost again. This time, it was by unanimous decision.
The good news is that his losing streak ended in October 2021. That’s when he defeated Johnny Walker by unanimous decision.
The result of all this is that Santos’ record is now 22-9, which isn’t bad at all, especially knowing that he’s won against some amazing players in the past. Jan Blachowicz, Kevin Holland, Jack Hermansson – these are just some of the big-name MMA fighters he’s won against in his 12+ years-long career.
Magomed Ankalaev Could be the Next Big Thing in the UFC
He is currently sixth in the UFC Light Heavyweight Rankings, even though his professional-career record is 16-1. The reason why he isn’t higher in the rankings is that he’s fought only eight fights in the UFC. His journey started with a loss at UFC Fight Night 127, but since then, he has all wins.
The trouble is that he hasn’t fought as a high-ranked fighter as Santos. In fact, his toughest opponent so far was Volkan Oezdemir, who is #8 in the rankings at the moment. The fight in question happened last October when we saw Ankalaev win by unanimous decision.
It was his seventh career win by this method. The other nine wins happened by knockout, while he is still without a single win by submission. Striking is his strongest weapon, but the trouble is that the same goes for Santos. That said, it’s very likely Saturday’s bout is going to finish with one of the fighters laying on the ground. But, who’s going to get KO-d?
Odds suggest it’s going to be Santos, but the Brazilian veteran mustn’t be underestimated. The fact that he’s beaten many tougher fighters than Ankalaev suggests that backing him could be a wise betting decision.
Picks: Thiago Santos by Knockout