5 biggest winners from UFC Fight Night: Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev

Magomed Ankalaev picked up the biggest win of his octagon career over Thiago Santos last night.
Magomed Ankalaev picked up the biggest win of his octagon career over Thiago Santos last night.

UFC Fight Night: Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev wasn’t the deepest card in terms of name value. However, on paper, it looked like it might produce some exciting fights.

Eventually, the UFC Fight Night was wildly entertaining from start to finish. There were some crazy knockouts and submissions, meaning a few fighters came away with big wins.

Some of these fighters will undoubtedly rise into title contention following their victories, and we may well have seen at least one future champion in action. On that note, here are the five biggest winners from UFC Fight Night: Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev:


#5. Drew Dober – defeated Terrance McKinney in a UFC lightweight bout

Drew Dober got his octagon career back on track with an excellent win over Terrance McKinney.
Drew Dober got his octagon career back on track with an excellent win over Terrance McKinney.

Dre Dober holds a reputation as one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC today. However, he must’ve felt like he had his back to the wall coming into his fight with Terrance McKinney last night.

Not only had the Colorado native lost his last two bouts inside the octagon, but he also faced a foe who had taken the fight on just two weeks’ notice. Moreover, his opponent was coming off two impressive stoppages in his first couple of trips to the octagon.

Had McKinney dealt with Dober in the same way he’d done to Fares Ziam in February, it may well have signalled the end of Dober’s career in the octagon.

Instead, though, the TUF 15 veteran was able to weather the early storm from ‘T-Wrecks’. He absorbed everything that was thrown at him before roaring back to knock McKinney down. From there, he pounced and didn’t let up till the fight was over.

Unsurprisingly, with so much action packed into a short period of just over three minutes, this was probably the night’s best fight overall.

While the win won’t elevate Dober into the top ten at 155 lb or anything like that, the fact that he knocked off such a dangerous prospect in entertaining fashion was impressive. Not only did he save his career with the promotion, but he also did so in perhaps the best way possible.

#4. Alex Pereira – defeated Bruno Silva in a UFC middleweight bout

Based on his win over Bruno Silva, Alex Pereira is ready for a run at the top middleweights in the world.
Based on his win over Bruno Silva, Alex Pereira is ready for a run at the top middleweights in the world.

Alex Pereira made a flying knee knockout on his UFC debut and has a considerable background in kickboxing, complete with a KO win over current middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya. So it was understandable why Pereira had plenty of hype around him last night.

The promotion hardly threw him a softball on his second trip to the octagon. That’s because opponent Bruno Silva had reeled off three straight stoppage wins in 2021, and looked every bit one of the most dangerous prospects at 185 lbs. However, in a largely entertaining contest, ‘Po Atan’ came out on top, essentially outstriking Silva from start to finish.

Sure, ‘Blindado’ had his high points too, landing some solid blows, taking Pereira down a couple of times and becoming the first man to take him the distance in MMA. However, it was pretty clear who won in the end. Pereira even came close to a late stoppage, thanks to a nasty left hook in the third round.

Where does ‘Po Atan’ go from here? He’s clearly got the striking ability to stand with anyone in the division – including Adesanya. Really, it’s only a matter of time before he breaks into the top ten. The promotion should probably look to match him with someone like Derek Brunson next and see what happens.

Either way, it’s clear to say that Pereira was one of the biggest winners from last night’s event.


#3. Sodiq Yusuff – defeated Alex Caceres in a UFC featherweight bout

Sodiq Yusuff was impressive in his win over Alex Caceres.
Sodiq Yusuff was impressive in his win over Alex Caceres.

In a bout that appeared to be flying under the radar last night, Sodiq Yusuff outpointed Alex Caceres pretty convincingly. The win should probably move him into the featherweight division’s top ten next week.

‘Super Sodiq’ basically got the better of Caceres from start to finish in the fight. He outwrestled the veteran early before abusing ‘Bruce Leeroy’ with some nasty low kicks for the better part of the last two rounds.

Was it a perfect showing from Yusuff? Arguably not, as he didn’t really come close to finishing Caceres off. When you consider that ‘Bruce Leeroy’ has never been known for his durability, the native of Nigeria may be a little disappointed from his exploits on the night.

However, with his heavy striking and somewhat underrated grappling, he’s clearly a danger to any 145 lber on the planet and deserves a big fight next time out. There’s no doubt that even without a finish, he was one of last night’s big winners.

#2. Song Yadong – defeated Marlon Moraes in a UFC bantamweight bout

Song Yadong didn’t need long to take out Marlon Moraes
Song Yadong didn’t need long to take out Marlon Moraes

The idea that Marlon Moraes is probably reaching the tail end of his career with the UFC is difficult to dispute. However, the fact that Song Yadong defeated him in such devastating fashion – leaving him unconscious as the victim of a walk-off KO – should mean the Chinese fighter breaks into the top ten at bantamweight next week.

‘The Kung Fu Monkey’ has looked like an elite-level 135 lber in waiting for a while now. His win over Marlon Vera in May 2020 seemed to signal that he was ready for a run at the top. However, he followed that with almost a year on the shelf and a loss to Kyler Phillips, derailing his momentum badly.

Last night, though, was his third win in a row, and his first over a really proven opponent, too. Moraes has obviously been losing plenty of fights recently. However, he’s still very dangerous – as his early success against Merab Dvalishvili showed – and yet he had nothing at all for Song last night.

Essentially, ‘The Kung Fu Monkey’ appears to be hitting his stride right now, and this win more than proved that. Could he defeat one of the higher-ranked fighters in the division? He’d definitely stand a chance and will probably get a major opponent next time out.

Either way, this was a hell of a knockout, meaning the Chinese fighter should easily be considered one of last night’s big winners.


#1. Magomed Ankalaev – defeated Thiago Santos in a UFC light heavyweight bout

Magomed Ankalaev should be ready for a title shot after his win over Thiago Santos last night.
Magomed Ankalaev should be ready for a title shot after his win over Thiago Santos last night.

While he didn’t pick up the finish he probably wanted, instead taking a clear-cut unanimous decision, it’s difficult to dispute the idea that Magomed Ankalaev was the biggest winner last night’.

The Dagestani light heavyweight clearly outworked former UFC title challenger Thiago Santos. He largely used his sharp counter-striking to punish the Brazilian when he attempted his trademark haymakers.

Interestingly, Ankalaev didn’t even really unleash his impressive wrestling game. That was a major surprise given that most fans figured that was his simplest route to victory. Instead, he fought Santos in his own wheelhouse – and despite nearly paying for it when ‘Marreta’ hurt him in the second round -he came out on top.

The big question now is whether Ankalaev goes right into a title bout the next time he visits the octagon, or if he has to fight again before a clash with either Glover Teixeira or Jiri Prochazka.

On one hand, the Dagestani is on the lengthiest win streak in the division – winning eight bouts in a row. He looks to have the skills to beat anyone on the planet at 205 lbs. On the other hand, though, after failing to finish his foe here, the UFC may want him to fight another contender – perhaps Aleksandar Rakic – first.

Either way, it’s difficult to deny his position as a true elite 205 lber, so Magomed Ankalaev must be considered as last night’s biggest winner.

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Edited by Bhargav
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