Thiago Santos Slams Israel Adesanya’s UFC 248 Performance: ‘Romero Won That Fight’

Thiago Santos
Photo via Instagram @tmarretamma

Santos: Romero Did His Part

Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos was not impressed by Israel Adesanya’s performance last month and believes Yoel Romero won the contest.

Adesanya successfully defended his middleweight title against Romero at UFC 248 following a drab unanimous decision victory with little action from both sides. Although Adesanya was the more active fighter — mainly in part due to his leg strikes — many, including Romero, criticized him for “running” during the fight and remaining conservative.

Santos — a former middleweight — is one of them as he believes Romero did his part which was more than enough to earn the victory.

“Yes, Romero won that fight,” Santos told MMA Fighting. “Horrible… horrible. Horrible fight. There’s not much to say. Especially his part. Romero did his part. Romero moved forward, tried to bring more of a fight, but the champion was very conservative, so it was a boring fight to watch.”

Others defended Adesanya by stating that even if Romero may have had a case of winning the fight, he didn’t “do enough to take the title from the champion.” But that very line of thinking irks Santos.

“It bothers me. That’s totally wrong, man,” Santos said. “Does the champion enter the Octagon with the belt around his waist? So tell him to enter the Octagon with the belt. They both enter without the belt and whoever wins will have the belt. People have to stop seeing the champion as he already has the belt. ‘Oh, if it’s a split [decision] it’s for him, the challenger has to do twice more to win.’ Why does the challenger have to do twice more? So make it a rule. It that’s not a rule, it shouldn’t happen.

“The challenger doesn’t have to fight twice as better. It doesn’t start 1-0 for the champion. It feels that the champion starts with a 1-0 lead. No, the fight starts 0-0. That’s the right thing. I’m completely against that (culture) that the challenger must do twice more. It’s a fight like any other. Whoever won, won. There’s no, ‘Oh, but he’s the champion.’ There’s no champion when you enter a fight. The champion has to win the fight. It’s absurd when I hear people say that. The champion has to fight hard, just like the challenger.”

Not to say that Santos feels that’s what happened in his split decision defeat to Jon Jones in their light heavyweight title fight last summer.

“I can’t say that, man, because my fight wasn’t blatant,” Santos explained. “You can’t say I was robbed in my fight. It was very close, there’s no other way, but the Romero fight, I think Romero clearly won.”

So does “Marreta” want to face “The Last Stylebender” in the future?

Although he is happy at 205, he has no problem moving up or down if it’s for a big fight or to save an event. And he is more than down to face Adesanya should the possibility arise.

“It can definitely happen, yes,” Santos added. “To save an event or for a super fight. I don’t have any problem moving down or up. But the division where I’ll stay, which I feel better and healthier, is light heavyweight.

“I would fight (Adesanya), no doubt, at middleweight or light heavyweight. He already said he wanted to move up one day, so it doesn’t matter. I’d fight him, for sure.”

How do you see a potential Adesanya vs. Santos fight playing out?

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