UFC Sao Paulo’s Thiago Santos likely wan’t expecting that, as a short notice replacement for an injured Glover Teixeira, he would have to take on a short notice replacement himself. But, after Jimi Manuwa was forced to pull out of their bout, and substituted with Eryk Anders, here he is. Now, in an odd spot, both middleweights will face off at light heavyweight on Saturday night.
In an interview with Combate, the 34-year-old said he was surprised he wasn’t paired up with a natural light heavyweight and doesn’t see Anders as a real test at the heavier division.
“I was surprised. I thought they would give me another light heavyweight. In the end, it’s not going to be a real test for me at a heavier weight class. I’m going to see how I feel, of course I’ll be strong, but I won’t be fighting a real light heayvweight.”
Sad about Manuwa’s removal from the card, Santos went on to say he would like to find out if he could take a shot from a heavier power puncher such as ‘Poster Boy.’ But, now he will have to adapt his gameplan for Anders’ style, which is entirely different.
“I met Manuwa at breakfast and I thought to myself: ‘Damn, that’s a big guy’. I even joked about it with my master, but I wanted to see how funny would it be if I took a punch from him. Manuwa is much bigger, I would have to use my speed, but now I’ll have to adapt.”
“We’re analyzing some basic differences (between Manuwa and Anders) and trying to put them to practice as we enter the final stretch. I was going to fight an orthodox guy, now it’s a southpaw. Because he’s a middleweight, my footwork won’t be that much of an advantage anymore. It’s five days to change some aspects, just details, nothing that will hold me back.”
Thiago Santos is expected to take on Eryk Anders in the main event at UFC Fight Night 137, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 22.