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Thiago Santos ‘surprised’ with UFC 239 split decision: ‘I wasn’t too hopeful I would win’

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Thiago Santos is trying to look at things from an optimistic perspective.

Fresh off a hard-fought split decision loss to Jon Jones at UFC 239, ‘Marreta’ told Esporte Espetacular he was surprised to learn that one of the judges even scored the fight in his favor after the grueling five-round battle in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In Thiago’s opinion, although he thinks he put on a good fight, Marreta did not feel like he ever did enough to warrant a decision win against ‘Bones,’ especially after seriously injuring both of his knees in the opening round of the fight.

“I was surprised, yes,” Santos said. “Even though I think I touched him more, it was a close fight and it’s hard to beat the champion when a fight is that close. You have to put in twice the effort or more. I wasn’t hopeful to win. Then, when one of the judges gave me the win, I thought: ‘Damn, will it really happen?’, but I wasn’t too hopeful I would win. I was okay with the loss, because the fight didn’t go like I wanted to. The injury held me back a lot. My intention was to fight all next four rounds like I did in the first one.”

A couple of days after the fight, exams confirmed that Santos’ knee injuries were more serious than anticipated, showing tears in all of Thiago’s left knee’s ligaments and meniscus, as well as partial tears in his right knee, which will sideline the 35-year-old for up to a year. However, Santos is still optimistic that he could rematch Jones once he is healthy enough to return.

“A rematch would be a dream, for sure,” Santos said. “I want to heal from my knee injuries and then I want to fight him at 100%, so we can see how he deals with me at 100%, doing my thing, doing what we trained to do. It will be a different fight, for sure.”


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