Thiago Santos was picked last during his stint at “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2,” but through hard work, dedication and using a pair of heavy hands, he’s slowly inching closer to the top of the rankings. Currently ranked No. 6, Santos has a chance to move even higher by defeating No. 4-ranked Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 145.
As he works his way to becoming the next title contender, here are some numbers that have made him one of the most dreaded strikers at 205.
8: Years of training capoeira before trying other combat sports. The former army paratrooper was able to achieve the rank of green rope. Later on, he learned muay Thai and became a two-time state champion before shifting his focus to mixed martial arts.
7: Wins without a loss to start his professional career. Santos fought entirely in four different promotions in Rio de Janeiro, four of which were for Watch Out Combat Show. Three of those victories came by TKO, another three by decision and one by submission. He went 1-1 after that and was subsequently signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
41: Seconds against Cezar Ferreira in his UFC debut. Santos’ initial foray into the Octagon didn’t go as planned as he was stopped by his countryman early in the first round. For his next outing, it was his turn to show that he can finish fights quickly as he finished Ronny Markes in just 53 seconds.
29: Seconds was his fastest finish to date. A devastating kick to the head stiffened up Steve Bosse, knocking him out before he even landed on the canvass. The fight happened at the historic UFC Fight Night 70.
3: Performance of the Night awards in the UFC. All these came after his spectacular performances over Bosse, Jack Marshman and most recently, Jimi Manuwa.
2: Fight of the Night awards, including a TKO victory over Anthony Smith, who will be challenging for the title this March. In the main event of UFC Fight Night 137, Santos demolished Eryk Anders to earn his second Fight of the Night citation.
547: Significant strikes landed in UFC competition, accounting for 51 percent of all significant strikes he has thrown. His highest in a single fight is 100, which he inflicted on Anders.
12: UFC wins. Santos has scored some big victories inside the Octagon, which is why he is currently ranked among the best in the division.
3: Divisions in which he has fought in. Apart from light heavyweight, which is his current weight division, he has also fought at middleweight and welterweight.
5: Fights in 2018, which is his most active year along with 2011. During 2018, he faced Manuwa, Anders, Smith, Kevin Holland and David Branch. He went 4-1, losing only to Branch.
35: Years of age. The Tata Fight Team torchbearer was born on Jan. 7, 1984 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.