Thiago Santos would have prevailed against Jon Jones if the knee injury did not happen during their UFC 239 main event scrap, at least for his coach, Tata Duarte.
‘Marreta’ challenged the pound-for-pound king for the light heavyweight championship last Saturday at a jampacked T-mobile Arena.
Billed as the heavy underdog in the fight, Santos exceeded expectations as he was able to stretch the fight into the full distance and gave Jon Jones a run for his money.
The light heavyweight pair went into an all-out five-round war, with Santos making Jones looking vulnerable in some moments.
But in the end, it was still Jones who had his hands raised, winning the fight via split decision.
Aside from the loss, it was doubly painful for the Brazilian as he also sustained a right knee injury during the fight.
For his MMA coach, it would have been a different story if Santos was in a 100% state against ‘Bones.’
— UFC News (@UFCNews) July 7, 2019
“He Shocked The World”
Duarte told MMA Fighting that the knee injury was a big difference-maker in the fight.
He said Santos could have secured the victory if all his knees were healthy.
The MMA coach also lauded ‘Marreta’ for doing their game plan and fighting Jones for five rounds with one knee.
“If that knee hadn’t stopped him, Jon Jones would have gone down, no doubt.”
“Our game plan was all set, ‘Marreta’ was seeing everything. And after he started hurting Jon Jones’ legs he began to lose mobility, it was too easy to put him out, man, but we counted on switching stances to get it done.”
“He started the combinations but couldn’t continue.”
“But I’ll say this: our goal was accomplished. He shocked the world.”
“This guy’s life story, man, he comes out huge after this fight. He knows he’s a complete fighter, he knows he can do five rounds with anyone.”
“He did five rounds with someone that people say is invincible, the best of all time, and did that on one knee. Imagine if he had both legs.”
— MMA India (@MMAIndiaShow) July 7, 2019
Heart Of A Warrior
MMA fans were all praises for Santos after fighting one of the greatest fighters with an injured knee.
With Santos putting up a gallant stand, he gave Jones the first win of his career that is not by way of stoppage or unanimous decision.
But did you know that the Brazilian fighter almost withdrew from this fight?
Duarte revealed Santos underwent a knee injury months before the July fight card.
“The camp started with a 45-day delay and Thiago only had two months to prepare for this fight, but still didn’t want to pull out.”
“The doctor gave us a timeline but we had a problem later. Heather (Linden), physical therapist of the UFC, was the one who recovered his knee.”
“She was at UFC 237 in Rio and kept working on his knee for six days straight and found out what the problem was and was able to fix it. That’s when he started his camp.”
“We told him, ‘Thiago, let’s pull out of the fight,’ and he said, ‘No, I won’t pull out.’ He didn’t want to.”
“We did this camp in two months. It should have been at least three months, but we didn’t have that time.”
Jon Jones split decision victory over Thiago Santos has turned into a debate, as many fans believe Santos did enough to take the win… What are your thoughts on the fight? 🤔@JonnyBones @TMarretaMMA #UFC239 pic.twitter.com/BU6nBVziP1
— PlanetMMA.com (@ThePlanetMMA) July 7, 2019
(Featured Image Source: YouTube/MMA Weekly and Fight Hub TV)