UFC Fight Night Preview: Santos vs. Ankalaev

Santos vs Ankalaev

UFC Fans will be in for a treat on Saturday, March 12th. The Main Event of The Evening features a Brazilian who holds a Black belt in both Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu, against a Russian whose been crowned Master of Sport in Combat Sambo. To say that each of these fighters is technically sound would be a gross understatement. Thiago Santos versus Magomed Ankalaev isn’t the only exciting bout on the upcoming edition of Fight Night. All six fights on the main card will satisfy the cravings of enthusiasts with a healthy appetite for mixed martial arts. There’s a lot to unpack here. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Santos vs. Ankalev

Prior to his unanimous decision victory over Johnny Walker in October of last year, light heavyweight challenger Thiago Santos was seen as a fighter on the decline. This was due to a stretch of three consecutive losses, during which Santos did not look like his old self. However, beating a highly regarded prospect like Walker did wonders for Santos’ profile. He is now viewed as a 38-year-old fighter who still has a lot to offer the sport and is capable of making one last push to earn the second title shot of his career.

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Magomed Ankalaev is one of the best light heavyweight prospects in the UFC. After losing his organizational debut in March of 2018, Ankalaev has reeled off seven consecutive victories. At just 29-years-old, he is widely viewed as a future champion in the division. The prevailing thought is that it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” he will wear the crown. In the meantime, he must face a motivated Thiago Santos, a man who many feel was robbed of a decision against former undisputed champion Jon “Bones” Jones. Both of these fighters have something to lose, and a lot to gain if they can emerge victorious. This is one main event, fight fans will not want to miss.

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Moraes vs. Yadong

At just 33-years-old, bantamweight challenger Marlon Moraes is fighting for his spot on the UFC’s roster. He’s come out on the wrong side of his last three bouts and there are rumors he may have to find a new organization to compete in if he doesn’t find a way to come out on top. Back in 2014, he was crowned bantamweight champion of the World Series of Fighting, an organization that was later restructured to become the present day PFL. He successfully defended the title for more than two years before relinquishing the belt to join the UFC. While no one can dismiss his accomplishments, it’s time to find out if Moraes can prove to the world he’s still an elite fighter in the division.

Since making his UFC debut in 2017, Song Yadong has only suffered one defeat. His story is reminiscent of recently retired boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao. Yadong became a pro at the tender age of sixteen, fighting grown men for money before he was old enough to enlist in military service. Now, at the age of 24, he is far more experienced than just about any other fighter his age. He’s already a top fifteen fighter in the division, and his stock is rising with every victory. If fans want to catch a glimpse of a rising star, they should definitely tune in to watch Yadong compete on Saturday.

Yusuff vs. Caceres

Featherweight prospects Sodiq Yusuff and Alex Caceres each had similar starts to their professional careers. Yusuff got his start competing in regional MMA circuits in metropolitan Washington D.C. Caceres, on the other hand implemented the same strategy, only his bouts were in Miami and the surrounding area. After besting most of the competition in their respective hometowns, each man found his way into the UFC. Now they are set to square off in a battle of evenly matched elite prospects. The winner of this bout will most likely catapult into the upper echelon of the contender conversation, while the loser will remain somewhere in the top fifteen in the division.

Rountree vs. Roberson

Light heavyweight challengers Khalil Rountree and Karl Roberson both fought their way onto the UFC’s roster through competition. Rountree competed on The Ultimate Fighter in 2016, while Roberson was a contestant on The Contender Series in 2017. Both men came from regional promotions with little to no fan fare before getting their big break. However, neither fighter has managed to piece together anything but a mediocre resume since getting their shot at stardom. Each man has a reputation for elite athleticism; Rountree is trained in Muay Thai and Roberson has a professional kickboxing career. However, athleticism and fighting prowess do not always have a direct correlation. On Saturday, these two will get the chance to prove their naysayers wrong when they climb into the octagon to face one another.

Dober vs. McKinney

Drew Dober has lost three out of his last six fights, including each of the last two. Terrance McKinney, on the other hand, is currently on a five fight win streak. This is a case of a fighter on the rise facing off against a fighter who is potentially on the decline. While experience is on the side of Dober, youth and athleticism are on the side of McKinney. For fight fans who are intrigued by contrasting styles, this will be an entertaining bout. Each of these men know it takes a lot to get noticed in the lightweight division. This one will be fun to watch.

Pereira vs. Silva

Middleweight prospects Alex Pereira and Bruno Silva have been two of the most active fighters in all of combat sports over the last decade. Pereira, however, spent most of his time as a kickboxer amassing over 40 professional kick boxing matches over the course of his career. To date, he’s only had five mixed martial arts appearances, yet he is viewed as one of the best prospects in the division. Bruno Silva has spent the entirety of his career focused on mixed martial arts, however he did not make his first appearance in the UFC until June of last year. He quickly accumulated three victories in less than six months. On Saturday, Pereira and Silva will square off in a battle of two of the most dangerous men in the entire sport.

How to watch

UFC Fight Night can be viewed on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and on ESPN Plus in the United States. As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in depth analysis, available right here at World in Sport! Until next time, take care of yourselves and each other.

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