Thiago Santos Improves Stock, Melts Jan Blachowicz in UFC Fight Night 145 Headliner

By Brian Knapp Feb 23, 2019

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Jan Blachowicz discovered firsthand that mistakes made against Thiago Santos are often fatal.

Santos staked his claim as a potential title contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division, as he unwound the former KSW champion with a counter left hook and follow-up punches in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 145 headliner on Saturday at the O2 Arena in Prague. Blachowicz (23-8, 6-5 UFC) wilted 39 seconds into Round 3, closing the book on his four-fight winning streak.

The first and second rounds were marked by back-and-forth exchanges, Blachowicz operating behind a jackhammer jab and Santos answering with clubbing right hands and kicks to the body and legs. Early in the third, the Pole overextended on an uppercut and left himself exposed. Santos (21-6, 13-5 UFC) leveled him with a searing left hook, pounced on his fallen counterpart and delivered rapid-fire hammerfists from side control until referee Herb Dean had seen enough.

Santos has won four fights in a row, three of them finishes.

Struve Choke Dispatches Rogerio de Lima

Stefan Struve withstood a horrendous start to submit “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil” Season 3 semifinalist Marcos Rogerio de Lima with a mounted arm-triangle choke in the second round of their heavyweight co-main event. Rogerio de Lima (16-6-1, 5-4 UFC) conceded defeat 2:21 into Round 2.

An overhand right planted Struve (29-11, 13-9 UFC) on the canvas inside the first 30 seconds. Rogerio de Lima moved into top position, let go with ground-and-pound and eventually climbed to full mount. It could easily have been scored 10-8. Struve rebounded in the second round, where he secured a takedown, jumped to half guard and advanced to mount under threat of the arm-triangle. From there, the Dutchman tightened his squeeze and forced the tap.

The win threw the brakes on a three-fight losing streak for Struve, who indicated afterward that he was leaning toward retirement.

Oleksiejczuk Liver Shot Cripples Villante

Former Thunderstrike Fight League champion Michal Oleksiejczuk cut down Gian Villante with punches in the first round of their featured light heavyweight confrontation. Villante (17-11, 7-8 UFC) bowed out 94 seconds into Round 1.

Oleksiejczuk (13-2, 1-0 UFC) pestered the Bellmore Kickboxing Academy standout with awkward side-to-side movements and probing left hands to the body and head. Villante was at a distinct speed disadvantage and struggled to find his target as a result. Oleksiejczuk stepped into his preferred range and connected with a crippling left hook to the liver. Villante stepped backward, winced and collapsed on all fours, unable to protect himself from the punches that followed.

Always a tantalizing talent, the 33-year-old Villante has now lost four times in his last six starts.

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Carmouche Spoils Pudilova Homecoming

Team Hurricane Awesome’s Liz Carmouche won for the fourth time in five appearances, as she laid claim to a unanimous decision over Lucie Pudilova in a three-round women’s flyweight feature. Carmouche (13-6, 5-4 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks from the judges.

Pudilova (8-4, 2-3 UFC), the only Czech on the card, thrilled the hometown crowd in a handful of exchanges but was largely ineffective. Carmouche executed takedowns in all three rounds, piled up points with ground-and-pound and threatened with a few submissions, a second-round keylock and a third-round heel hook chief among them.

The 24-year-old Pudilova has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in her career.

Red-Hot Yan Dominates Dodson

Relentless forward pressure and exquisite punching combinations carried former Absolute Championship Berkut titleholder Petr Yan to a lopsided unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner John Dodson in a three-round bantamweight showcase. All three cageside judges saw it 30-27 for Yan (12-1, 4-0 UFC).

Dodson (20-11, 9-6 UFC) was forced into a perpetual state of retreat. Yan hit the deck in the second round on the end of a clean left hand from “The Magician,” but he was otherwise flawless. He tore into Dodson with jab-cross combinations, occasional knee strikes and body kicks. Yan gave the Jackson-Wink MMA representative no room to operate and no space to breathe, Dodson’s frustrations building with each passing second. Yan secured a takedown late in the third round and assaulted the Albuquerque, New Mexico, native with a sustained burst of ground-and-pound, punctuating another statement-making performance.

Yan, 26, has notched seven straight victories.

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Once-Beaten Ankalaev Outpoints Farias de Abreu

Gorets Fight Team export Magomed Ankalaev cleared another hurdle in the 205-pound weight class, as he took a unanimous decision from Klidson Farias de Abreu in a three-round light heavyweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it for Ankalaev (10-1, 2-1 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Ankalaev rearranged the organizational newcomer’s face in the first round, where he connected with an uppercut that resulted in a grotesquely broken nose. Somewhere, Rich Franklin and Rory MacDonald shuddered. A short-notice substitution for the injured Darko Stosic, Farias de Abreu (14-3, 0-1 UFC) was compromised for the remainder of the fight, as he was forced to engage off of his back foot and in close quarters. Ankalaev did excellent work in the clinch, executed a few takedowns and continued to crack the Brazilian with uppercuts to the face.

The defeat snapped Farias de Abreu’s six-fight winning streak.

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