LAS VEGAS — Thiago Santos nearly became the UFC light heavyweight champion while fighting on two knees that required surgery. The Brazilian hasn’t fought since losing a split decision at T-Mobile Arena to Jon Jones in a July 6, 2019, title fight.
Santos had surgery on both knees after the fight and returns to meet Glover Teixeira on Saturday at Apex in the main event of a card televised on ESPN2.
The fight with Teixeira is significant because a win will deliver Santos another crack at the championship. Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is moving up to challenge newly crowned light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, and UFC president Dana White told Yahoo Sports earlier in the week that the Adesanya-Blachowicz winner would face the Santos-Teixeira winner.
Santos, 36, told Yahoo Sports he feels back to full health and is ready to take on the formidable challenge Teixeira presents in what should be an all-out, stand-up war.
Teixeira, 41, comes in on a four-fight winning streak and routed the estimable Anthony Smith the last time out. He has improved his game dramatically since losing to Jones in 2014 and is not only an elite striker, but also an expert on the ground.
Teixeira is the underdog at +200 at BetMGM New Jersey. Santos is a -250 favorite. To me, this is an even fight, so I’ll go with Santos since I’m getting plus-money.
I’ll lay $100 to win $200 on Teixeira to win.
I like “yes” in “Will the fight go the distance?” Yes is +280 and no is -358.
I’ll lay -152 and bet that the fight goes over 1.5 rounds.
I’ll lay -154 on Giga Chikadze to win by KO/TKO, DQ or submission over Jamey Simmons.
I’ll take the money at +160 and play Tanner Boeser by KO/TKO/DQ or submission over Andrei Arlovski.
I’ll take the money at +160 and play Max Griffin to win by decision over Ramiz Brahimaj.
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