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Thiago Santos enters this fight with a 21-8 record and has won 71 percent of his fights by knockout. Santos has won six of his last nine fights and loses to Glover Teixeira in November. Santos averages 4.36 significant hits per minute with an accuracy of 48 percent. Santos has an average of 0.77 takedowns with an accuracy of 40 percent. Santos suffered a submission loss at UFC Vegas 13 where he was pretty dominated for three rounds. At 37 and the injuries he’s had, there are question marks when it comes to Santos. There are no secrets when it comes to Santos as he is pure knockout power and wants a standing fight where he can unload and hope one of those shots lands. While Santos wears a black belt in Muay Thai and BJJ, he doesn’t use his floor game often and rarely even tries a takedown. Santos is dropping bombs and eight of his last nine wins have been knockout victories. Santos is also going to take some strong body kicks and has created several knockouts with his legs. This is Santos’ eighth career fight in Las Vegas.
Aleksandar Rakic enters this fight with a 13-2 record and has won 69 percent of his fights by knockout. Rakic has won six of his last seven fights, beating Anthony Smith in August. Rakic averages 4.66 significant hits per minute with an accuracy of 54 percent. Rakic has an average of 0.93 takedowns with an accuracy of 28 percent. Rakic took a decisive win at UFC Vegas 8, scoring a total of 141 hits, 77 percent of his significant hits. Rakic has only lost once in over nine years and three of his last five wins have been decided by decision. Rakic is a technical fighter with a background in boxing and kickboxing, and he’s very smart on his feet where he doesn’t take a lot of damage. Rakic is a precise striker who chooses his spots well, and he’s pretty quick with his hands for someone as long as 6’4 » with a range of 78 inches. Rakic has also improved his grappling skills over the years, showing a highly effective soil and a pound during his first six bouts in the UFC. This will be Rakic’s second career fight in Las Vegas.
I love getting good strikers with plus money as it only takes one shot to redeem a ticket. Santos is still a dangerous fighter because of his ridiculous clout. However, Santos didn’t look good last time out and one has to wonder if the leg injuries took their toll. Rakic has been on the rise since his professional career and he is the bigger fighter here, much more accurate with his punches and even has better defenses.
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