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Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos is looking to get back on the horse sooner than later.
On Friday, ESPN announced that the UFC was putting together a light heavyweight bout between Santos (21-8) and Aleksandar Rakic (13-2). The two would be squaring off at a newly announced March 6 UFC event, and the location could either be at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas or on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, based on how the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. This bout would not be the headliner, and it would be Santos’ first three-round fight since 2018.
Santos is currently on just the second losing streak in his career, dropping a split verdict to Jon Jones in 2019 and most recently getting tapped out by Glover Teixeira in November. The former middleweight is aiming for the all-time UFC record for the most knockouts, and he is tied with several fighters including Anderson Silva and Derrick Lewis for the second-most, trailing Vitor Belfort (12). To his credit, eight of the last nine wins for “Marreta” have come by knockout.
Rakic holds a fairly impressive stoppage rate in his own right of 77 percent – one percent higher than Santos – but he has gone the distance in each of his last two outings. The Austrian rebounded from his first decision defeat to take a unanimous verdict over Anthony Smith in a three-round headliner in August. Before his split decision loss to Volkan Oezdemir, “Rocket” Rakic racked up UFC wins over Francimar Barroso, Justin Ledet, Devin Clark and Jimi Manuwa in rapid succession.