After a UFC 266 pay-per-view blockbuster, this weekend, the UFC returns to its Fight Night series for its final event.
UFC Fight Night: Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker features a major light heavyweight clash between two headlining Brazilians, while the rest of the map features plenty of solid fights.
With plenty of top contenders in action this weekend, this should be a card to watch for any UFC fan.
Here are the expected results for UFC Fight Night: Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker.
# 1. UFC Light Heavyweight Division: Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker
This all-Brazilian clash could well see the next challenger for the UFC light heavyweight title decided, depending on which direction is taken of course.
It is highly unlikely that Thiago Santos could end up next in line for a title shot. He’s on a three-fight slippage and a win here would be his first since February 2019.
However, Johnny Walker is a whole different matter. Sure, he’s 2-2 in his last four fights, but he’s coming off a knockout victory over Ryan Spann, has an extremely entertaining style and is the kind of fighter the UFC would like to push into. a major place on the list.
So can Walker do it, or will “Marreta” play the spoiler role and send her crashing into the map again?
Interestingly, you could perhaps argue that this represents a fight of mirror images. Santos is probably the cleanest and most technical forward. At first glance, however, it should be two wild attackers with semi-questionable chins.
Will either of the men want this fight on the ground? It seems unlikely. We have seen Santos use ground and deliver at times with great success, but only against already defeated enemies or smaller opponents like Kevin Holland or Eryk Anders. Really, it should come down to the question of which man can land first and which man can land hardest. In this sense, it is difficult to call.
Santos is obviously the most proven fighter inside the UFC. He took the distance from Jon Jones in their fight and clinched victories over Anthony Smith, Jack Hermansson and even current UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. However, he is also 37 years old and, worryingly, doesn’t look like the same fighter since he suffered a serious knee injury during his fight with Jones. His loss to Aleksandar Rakic, for example, wasn’t entirely overwhelming, but he certainly didn’t seem as explosive as he once was.
Explosive is the word that probably sums up Walker the best. Everything he throws is designed to knock out his opponent, and he’s more than willing to throw low percentage shots like back punches and flying knees in those attempts as well.
The fact that none of his UFC wins exceeded the three-minute mark in the first round tells its own story. In essence, Walker is remarkably dangerous at the start of a fight and if an opponent allows him to start quickly, those are probably curtains.
He’s lost twice in the UFC, though, and one of those losses stands out more than the other. Nikita Krylov largely beat him to the ground in a war of attrition, but Corey Anderson turned his aggression on him and ended up knocking him out after dodging his early attacks.
So can Santos reproduce this result? It’s possible. “Marreta” hits remarkably hard and has already managed to land heavy shots on the meter. However, that was also before his serious knee injury. Since then he has seemed slower than before and that could signal trouble against someone as fast and explosive as Walker. The young Brazilian will have to be careful not to leave each other too much wide-open. However, if he comes out quickly and is looking for a quick finish, he might just be able to get it.
The Pick: Walker via TKO in the first round