And that’s how you open a pay-per-view card.
Thiago Santos raised the UFC 231 curtain with an impressive second-round knockout of Jimi Manuwa after the matchup waged a light heavyweight war in Toronto. The winner threw bombs at his rival straight off the opening bell going as far as the wild knockout in round two.
Despite the loss, every shot from both fighters’ end can be a knockout level punch. If Manuwa took a thousand jabs from Santos, so did the latter.
A knockout obviously awaits one of them as the match kicked off. Favourably for Santos, it ended up being his rival.
In a nutshell, it was a quick but violent battle. The Brazilian native rocked the British fighter early in the competition but his opponent is bringing a storm as well.
Santos received shots nearly as many as he gave until his violent style succeeded in taking Manuwa’s chin to its limit in the second round. He folded his opponent up with a left hook and floored the 38-year with a cumulative knockout.
“That was the strategy — I came here to show that I can hit hard and that I’m here to stay,” Santos said through a translator.
WHAT. A. FIGHT!! 😱
Haymakers everywhere as Thiago Santos gets the HUGE knockout over Jimi Manuwa!
Swinging for the fences from the opening bell! Insane! pic.twitter.com/MJv1SMDh67
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) December 9, 2018
Santos is a 34-year-old mixed martial artist from Rio de Janeiro who made quite a statement in his 205-pound debut, which improved to a professional record of 7-1 since 2016. His flurry of hard punches pinned his rival against the cage following a brutal left uppercut.
Manuwa, who’s undefeated from 2008 to 2013 until suffering a loss to Alexander Gustafsson sent a series of wild spinning kicks and strikes his opponent wasn’t able to counter. Unfortunately, a sweeping left hook to the temple dropped him to the mat.
Referee Todd Anderson waved the fight off at 41 seconds of the second round.
“It was fun, it was marvellous. I want to make my opponents feel pain until they can’t bear it anymore,” Santos proudly exclaimed.
— UFC (@ufc) December 9, 2018
The two-way action led to a legitimate round-of-the-year contender as both fighters appeared hurt several times. It was almost a live-action video game that makes fans think Santos vs Manuwa will be hailed as UFC 231’s ‘Fight of the Night.’
UFC 231 QUICK RESULTS From MMAMania.com:
Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega — Holloway def. Ortega by TKO (doctor stoppage) at 5:00 of Round Four
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk — Shevchenko def. Jedrzejczyk by unanimous decision (49-46 x3)
Gunnar Nelson vs. Alex Oliveira — Nelson def. Oliveira by submission (rear naked choke) at 4:17 of Round Two
Kyle Bochniak vs. Hakeem Dawodu — Dawodu def. Bochniak by split decision (28-29, 30-27 x2)
Jimi Manuwa vs. Thiago Santos — Santos def. Manuwa by KO (punch) at 0:41 of Round Two
Nina Ansaroff vs. Claudia Gadelha — Ansaroff def. Gadelha by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Gilbert Burns — Burns def. Aubin-Mercier by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
Katlyn Chookagian vs. Jessica Eye — Eye def. Chookagian by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Eryk Anders vs. Elias Theodorou — Theodorou def. Anders by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Brad Katona vs. Matthew Lopez — Katona def. Lopez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Chad Laprise vs. Dhiego Lima — Lima def. Laprise by KO (punch) at 1:37 of Round One
Diego Ferreira vs. Kyle Nelson — Ferreira def. Nelson by TKO (punches) at 1:23 of Round Two
Devin Clark vs. Aleksandar Rakic — Rakic def. Clark by TKO (back fist and punches) at 4:05 of Round One
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Thiago Marreta Santos and Twitter/UFC